Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Century Expanded - 1970 - Concerto For Wah Wah

Century Expanded 
Concerto For Wah Wah

01. First Movement: Melodic Variations In D Minor     16:48
02. Second Movement: Rhythmic Variations In E Minor / Prelude     13:51

Invented in 1966, the wah wah pedal became a key device in forming and shaping the structure of many a rock song. Primarily employed in a hard and heavy context, the innovative gadget defined such a genre at the peak of its popularity, which was obviously the late sixties and early seventies, although a number of guitarists still utilize the apparatus today. The name of the pedal stems from the fact it sounds like "wah wah" when doing its thing, and allows the six-string slinger to effortlessly create interesting colors and tones.

MONSTER rarity here, kids - I've been searching YEARS for one of these and started to even doubt its existence.  But here it is - (almost) completely unknown, definitely un-reissued officially and it shows up about as often as Halley's Comet.  From 1970, on Jimmy Curtiss' (The Hobbits) Perception label, a group of individuals known as Century Expanded devoted to the sounds produced by the wah wah pedal produced this extremely specific and ultra-mind-expanding cosmic trip-out that sounds like a lost Pink Floyd album somewhere between SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS and UMMAGUMMA.  No one knows WHO is behind Century Expanded (other than Jimmy Curtiss, who wrote the songs), only a mysterious "J.M.P." who wrote the liner notes.  There are only three songs on here, two over 10 minutes each, given "serious" titles like "Melodic Variations In D Minor," "Rhythmic Variations in E Major" and "Prelude," which, ironically, is the LAST song on the record, ha ha.  Or should I say "wah wah."  "Melodic Variations" kicks off with a heavy, doomy monster riff very similar to the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" drenched in wah wah guitar.  Then, after about 7 minutes, we launch into a trippy dreamlike bridge sequence, all backwards tapes and "Rain"-like lysergia.  Then, the heavy riff returns again, this time given an acid-coated liquidy effect, somewhat like David Gilmour's treated guitar from the intro to "The Narrow Way" off UMMAGUMMA.  Side 2, otherwise known as "Rhythmic Variations in E Major" to you classical wah wah buffs, starts out with some discordant violin (probably run through a wah wah pedal no doubt), until a Jimi Hendrix inflluenced acid guitar kicks in.  Therein follows tons of wild, flying cosmic guitar licks, outer space keyboard effects a la Rick Wright and galloping tribal drums.  It's clearly an attempt to create their own "Interstellar Overdrive," and it's a darn good one.  I can't imagine how many record shops back then filed this one away in the "classical" section, based on the stodgy cover and the even stodgier song titles.  Only if you spun this would you realize just what an acid-drenched psych-o-delic monster it really is.  I've seen this selling for $750 online, no kidding, and that same website now lists it as "SOLD."  For the right acid head, this is clearly gold.

Karthago - 1978 - Love Is a Cake

Love Is a Cake

01. Rock 'n Roll Man 2:21
02. The Friend 3:50
03. Rosie 3:30
04. Remember 4:20
05. I Will Live 4:26
06. Love Is a Cake 4:53
07. Woman 4:07
08. Dreams of Love 4:02
09. Doing the Best I Can 4:39
10. Crazy Woman 3:30
11. Ira Lee 2:33

 KARTHAGO folded but Albrecht refounded the band for a 1978 album. Joining him were Funk, guitarist Jochen Roth,m brother of SCORPIONS guitarist ULI JON ROTH), bassist Earnst Keinz and keyboard player Chico De Los Reyes. The ensuing album, rather strangely titled 'Love Is A Cake', failed to sell and KARTHAGO split once again.

Roth, now known as Zeno Roth, formed the much lauded Symphonic Rock AORsters ZENO. Hartwig joined GURU GURU for their 1980 album 'Hey Du!' and also had a spell with EMBRYO. Cornick later formed PARIS for two 1976 albums before resurrecting WILD TURKEY in the mid 90's.

Karthago - 1976 - Live At The Roxy

Live At The Roxy

101. The World is Like a Burning Fire 5:34
102. Sound in the Air 5:00
103. Rock'n Roll Testament 4:56
104. We Gonna Keep it Together 7:29
105. Thema in C 10:40
106. The Second String Rambler 12:37

201. Wild River 6:44
202. Highway Seeker (Did Nobody Tell You) 15:49
203. We Give You Everything You Need 13:24
204. Going Down 5:02
205. See You Tomorrow in the Sky 3:32

The history of the Karthago Live Album is inseparably connected to my own life in the years 1975 and 1976. Cornelius and Marcellus Hudalla represented the management, photographers, PR and booking agents as well as producers of the records. We existed and lived together with the great road crew - Karthago, a big blended family with varying 'family members'. All of us were extremely committed, more or less freaky, unexceptionally gifted and absolutely convinced of our work. It is probably also a matter of age to regard yourself as the best, to believe that the world has waited only for you. But that was - aside from the individual constellation - no unique attitude at that time. Many popular bands in Germany had the same or similar approaches.

The bands´ views and orientations towards life and music were very diverse, just the way 'normal' families generally are. Many claimed to give a political statement with their music, others wished to document and spread a concept of life. Again others wanted to revolutionize classical music in a modern and rocking way, or to create unprecedented soundscapes with new electronic instruments. Then there was the elite who was determined to coin a technically perfect jazz performance, or those who created a whole new thing out of many of these tendencies.

It often led to tracks of 'endless' duration. The genre called 'Krautrock', marking a genre of German rock music in the early 70s, embraced quite a number of very differing musical styles. What they had in common was the feeling of breakup and breakout which derived from the 60s. It was musically represented especially by the Beatles and the Stones and was probably the biggest spiritual and social change of virtues of the modern age, happening within a small time period.

What was also shared by all German bands of that era was being discriminated by the English and American pioneers, by the music industry, radio and television stations, print media and a big part of the people.

'Schlager' still dominated the music consumption in Germany. The rock bands with their loud, beat-oriented music, the shrill looks, their pushing to freedom and independence, their longing for boundless individuality and social justice were outsiders. The awareness of that fact made us proud and strong. We felt that we had changed the world considerably. Modern rock music of that era was worldwide the most important medium to blast old-fashioned, authoritarian structures of thinking which had - in times of two world wars - almost led our planet into self-destruction and nuclear insanity.

The expression 'anti-authoritarian' became the key word of the young generation since the mid-60s. Along with that, the 'sexual revolution' being propagated, extensively enjoyed and exemplified in the universe of rock music expanded to the youth of the western world. This also was, literally spoken, motivation and 'mainspring'.

Karthago could not be related to one of the before mentioned styles within the 'Krautrock-Scene'. The band belonged to the few who were able to produce entertaining, chart-related rock music on a high musical level. We deliberately wanted to be compared to what was created by the best musicians in England and America. That referred to the technical skills to play international rock music of best quality.

Our inspirations were the roots of rock´n roll, former blues legends, The Beatles and Stones as well as exceptional geniuses like Hendrix, Clapton and many more. As a sound unit we were completely different and independent, visually and compositionally, we were Karthago and at the same time a little bit a top-Krautrock band of that era.

Because of its instrumentation with percussions, Karthago was sometimes compared to Santana. Back then not really famous, but later the most successful and only surviving band of all times in that genre were the Scorpions. They come from Hannover, like Joey Albrecht.

The bands knew each other well. For some time, we were their booking agents and later, after Karthago, partially also their concert promoters. I could write quite a lot about the Scorpions´ success now and I consider it as evidence to the fact that a German mainstream band of the 70s could be internationally successful. Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker are unique as artists and human beings, and all my respect and admiration is due to them - they had to work incredibly hard to achieve the top of the hill.

After the spring tour 1975 with Glenn Cornick, featuring 'Rock´n Roll Testament', Karthago split up for good. The musical differences were too extensive, the interpersonal and social assimilation problems irreconcilable. The last three concerts took place in Switzerland in march 1975, cooperating with our local promoter there, Harry Sprenger. All of us were sad, paralized, but no one had the strength to turn everything alright. Glenn went back to London, Ingo became part of Kraan and the Hudalla Brothers moved from the thrilling metropole Berlin to Scherpenseel, a village of 500 souls and part of the association of municipalities Übach Palenberg in the back-country of Aachen, right next to the Dutch town Heerlen.

There we founded our first corporation in a renovated barn. Our partners were Norbert Mückl and Engelbert Fleischer, two absolutely firm guys who were also working in management, booking and event management. It was our aim to become accepted in the local event business in North Rhine-Westphalia and to get ahead by making up a successful touring branch. From the commercial point of view that seemed to be the right decision in the beginning. I, Cornelius Hudalla, did never really truly fulfill that step though. I had to leave all my friends, my scene that ranged to Kommune 1 and the precursors of Bader Meinhof, the Kreuzberger Kiez between Cottbus gateway, Görlitz station and Silesian gateway as well as I had to leave 'Kontrastprogramm', our gorgeous photographic studio and office with its high walls and the big windows, located in Richard Wagner Street between German Opera and Charlottenburg Castle.

No more Berlin air, no police officers or battles with water cannons, no intellectual, creative or political conflicts, no wall, no Wannsee, no photographic inspiration, no freaky, willing city girls, no film, radio or television celebrity at every turn, no editorial office of a newspaper where you could drop in, no theater scene, no music scene, no stoned do-gooder or inventors of new loud speakers, no subway, no bar without curfew where you could hang around twenty-four-seven and meet interesting people, no sex, drugs and rock´n roll.

But even more serious for me was to give up my successful career as a photographer due to moving away from Berlin. My brother and me gained international popularity in the early 70s by shooting the top-selling Hendrix poster, we were approved stars in the photographer scene for pop music in Germany and Europe. Our creative work had brought us together with many genre icons of music business, already before Karthago. Our first meeting with Karthago was a request for a really wicked photo shooting. Concerning my person, there were several indications for a not yet finished, inner move to another city. I left my apartment in Sorauer Street 13 in Kreuzberg to Joey, I did not change the Berlin license number of our business Passat, let my hair grow longer and longer - just to keep my home in Berlin and to leave a return to the familiar environment open. In the hick-ass town I used every opportunity to stand out and to provoke. My looks, the Berlin license numer and the access to cannabis and weed in the Netherlands were reason enough for the police to check up on me because of drugs and terrorism tendencies. I did not feel welcome there and was not accepted indeed, at least not by the executive.

The highlight of that 'war' was a conflict with the local police. At that time I produced the album 'Rhapsody' with Pell Mell in Stommeln near Cologne. Pell Mell was Germany´s classic rock band no. 1 and also client of our management. The production happened on behalf of Dieter Dierks. Joey Albrecht was guest musician on the record. Due to a damage of one of Dieter´s new multi-track tape recorder we had unforeseeably one evening off and decided to go to a Kraan concert - in the city hall of Übach Palenberg of all places. Joey and me were happy to see Ingo Bischof again and we had a drink with the Kraan guys after the concert. We sat there far into the night. As if written in a script, we came into a police stop on our way back to Stommeln, just a few meters behind the city hall. Of course, we - being a little buzzed - found those measures by the police absolutely unnecessary and unfair. That grievous injustice made us protest heatedly and courageously in a way that is in official language also called 'defamation of a civil servant on duty '. The gentlemen of law and order were the majority and enjoyed being provoked, so we were forced to come to the police post.

There we had to walk through a espalier of sixteen police officers who beat us up in a way I had never experienced before. Thomas Schmitt of Pell Mell, Germany´s first-class violinist and trained lawyer said: 'I am an attorney' and wanted to protect us in that unjust situation. The answer was a punch of the right fist of a police officer that made him silent right away and unable to move his lower jaw for the next days. Most of us spent the night in the police cell whereupon I remember being knocked down and peed on by an officer. You can imagine in which miserable condition we arrived in Stommeln the next day to continue the production of the Pell Mell LP. Dieter´s mom who cooked lovingly for us at that time made every effort to nurse us back to health. I was an outsider in the new corporation and it was tough to integrate myself into daily routine. In retrospect I have to thank my partners at that time, my brother Marcellino, Norbert and Engelbert for the creative freedom with which I was able to found the Blitz Musik publishing company, to produce Pell Mell and finally 'Live At The Roxy' by Karthago.

After the split of the band I needed a lot of time and strength to realize that plan. Time also means that I could not administrate other requirements in the company which led to the fact that I was not able to make any contribution to the cost recovery of the young concern. I never wanted to accept the end of Karthago. Too big was my belief in the band and its international career. I spent many nights sleepless, agonizing about how to bring the people together again, how to resurrect Karthago. In doing so, the idea of a live LP developped. Nothing was more evident actually - after all Karthago was the most wicked live act in German rock scene at that time and the former two albums were relatively far away from what characterized the band on stage. We had discussed that topic for quite a while indeed without being able to putting it into action. The negative circumstance that everybody including the management was deeply in debt and pressured by the finance office after the active times helped me realizing the live project.

Those sorrows led to tensions and accusations between the involved. The situation demanded a solution. Since there were still requests for Karthago performances, I had to bring the band together, to motivate 'my company' to be event manager and to persuade the label to fund a Live LP. No easy task in a situation like that, especially because the management and the label had to take another financial risk, additionally to already existing debts. But by touring and live recordings there was the possibility to amortize debts and to open up new perspectives, too.

First of all I had to pitch that idea to my co-partners and my executive and to convince them to conduct the undertaking. The fact that the band did not own a PA or a light system any more made the situation complicated. All that stuff had to be rented for the tour. Up to that point, the whole thing was hypothetical because the band did not exist anymore and every single person had to be motivated for my project. After succeeding in convincing Joey, Ingo and Tommy in one-on-one talks, we still had to cast for bass and drums. That was primarily difficult because of the high-leveled musical standard.

It was probably Ingo who could persuade ex-member Gerald Luciano Hartwig to join the project. The man was in terms of musical skills and PR the first choice. Gerald was 'the guy' for the band. Concerning the drummer, Karthago´s and especially Joey´s requirements were at the highest stage. Nobody in this country seemed to fulfill the expectations. Of course there were many talented drummers but rarely one who could convey a certain rhythm feeling to provide the right groove to Karthago´s music. You need to consider that once Tommy Goldschmidt played the percussions in the band, one in south America born former drummer, and that the soloists Joey Albrecht and Ingo Bischof possessed remarkable rhythmical skills. Curt Cress was the band´s preferred candidate but he had other engagements. So we chose Ringo Funk, drummer of Atlantis and ex-drummer of Jeronimo, whom Joey knew quite well and expected to conform to the requirements. Since the cooperation with Tom Cunningham, Joey wanted a second guitarist and singer to perform Rock´n Roll Testament authentically. We could involve Reinhard Bopp of the Mannheim band Hard Cake Spezial for that part. Hard Cake Spezial was geared to the USA and certainly one of the best German bands featuring guitar licks in two voices and vocals in several voices.

So Reinhard´s background was compatible with Karthago´s music. Then the road crew had to be arranged. Our chief roadie Georg Früchtenich had moved to the United States due to wedding and needed to be replaced. Because of renting equipment at Flash Light Und Sound in Hamburg we worked together with Karthago´s original roadie Walter Rudat again. A few years before, Walter had left the band in a cloak-and-dagger operation in Copenhagen after it had 'forced' him to stem Ingo´s Hammond organ up to the third floor of the club. It happened on tour through Scandinavia at a concert with Thin Lizzy. Karthago´s members Bodo Neuman and Jürgen Greene Fiedler were present there, too. We obtained the support of our regular equipment supplier Gerd Kühnl from Bielefeld. Only the agreement of the label was lacking. Branco Civanovic, boss and possessor of Bellaphon, was no ordinary negotiating partner - but I was insistent and motivated as hell.

We ourselves had high requirements after cooperations with first-class sound masterminds like Thomas Kuckuck, Barry Hammond and Geoff Emmerick and workings in the best studios in Europe - so they were definitively justified when thinking of the band´s skills. It was not easy to reconcile both sides and to achieve a congruent production budget of the label. At that time, only two mobile units of measurement were possible, the ones of Dieter Dierks and Conny Plank. We decided for Conny Plank because Dierks´ mobile car was booked for a recording of the Rolling Stones. I was curious to work with Conny whose sound was well-known to the whole scene and whom I had often met and watched during my work as a photographer and journalist. Ingo and Conny had already worked together in cooperations for Kraan. Especially the outstanding drummer sound and his reputation in music business were impressing. After fixing the cornerstones, the elaboration of the project began.

The tour had to be booked, conditions to be negotiated and contracts with locations, organizers, guest musicians, technology companies and recording studios to be closed. Time schedules needed to be drawn, temporal sequels to be coordinated, routes to be arranged, hotels to be booked and rehearsals to be organized. The musical program was reassembled, GEMA announcements written and appropriate texts for the media composed. The following PR measure included multiple distribution of ready-made texts and photographs as well as appointments at radio and TV stations or interviews during rehearsals. All that happened over the distance between Scherpenseel and Berlin, without mobile phone, computer or fax. I am actually wondering why no band has ever used the significant sound of the rattling paper tape and the stroken type bar of the Telex machine for a song. I guess no one of the composers has ever really worked in an office. For all those who worked in (editorial) offices all around the world that sound was music and feeling of success in one. You were in contact with the whole wide world and when that infernal machine started something happened or began to move somewhere. In our case it was the Karthago tour in 1976.

It should be the most successful tour in band history. The dress rehearsal in Nürnberg aroused excitement of the public and great media feedback. Our tour manager Walter Weidenhaupt was busy getting the boys out of bed even after long nights and to get rid of interview requests or to coordinate them. Highlights were the concerts we recorded for the Live LP. One took place at the Fabrik in Hamburg, a Karthago stronghold since 1972, and the closing concert in Berlin´s Roxy Palast, a completely new live club accommodating more than 3000 people and so exceeding all previous locations. Our shows were sold out - sensationell.

It was gigantic - a German rock band that as the first of its kind had sold more than 3000 tickets for a single concert. I do not dare thinking about what could have happened if we had continued what if we had arrived earlier at an agreement with the interested parties from the USA who had shown up quite swanky at our office in Richard Wagner Street, what if...

What is left is the probably best live album in the history of German rock music. Fireworks of rhythm at the percussion by Tommy Goldschmidt and Ringo Funk, the best Gerald Luciano Hartwig I have ever heard on the bass guitar, Reinhard Bopp being the perfect complement to Joey, Ingo Bischof who shines as a master of all keyboard instruments, using sound layers, sometimes as the vibrant driver of the rhythm combo, as congenial partner of the lead guitar or as brilliant soloist. And finally Joey Albrecht, lead singer with a powerful, unique voice and a world class guitar play. The guts that he showed let him float above all top guitarists. With his quick fingers, his ingenious technique, the god-given talent, the huge sound repertoire, his anger, world weariness, his vulnerability and aggression, his intensive sexual sense he produced that certain something that could bring the audience to ecstasy and give even the quiet souls goose bumps. On stage, Joey could totally let go, go overboard, electrify co-musicians and listeners likewise.

Karthago music was emotional, inspiring and stirring. The CD starts with the typical Karthago concert intro 'The World Is Like A Burning Fire' of the record Karthago 1. 'Sound In The Air', 'Rock´n Roll Testament' and 'We Gonna Keep It Together' are songs of 'Rock´n Roll Testament'. The only and thitherto never recorded track is 'Thema In C', the only really German rock-like Kathago song, one that was written early in the band´s history, partly banished from the repertoire. It was requickened for the recordings because the audience and me liked it so much and it provides space for a drum solo of Ringo Funk. 'Second String Rambler' is a new version of the String Rambler of the founding years, for me one of the best tracks of the production. The ballade 'Wild River' is surprisingly the only song of 'Second Step'. Reinhard Bopp plays solo in the Don Nix song 'Going Down', a typical bonus track after concerts, using a Bottle Neck. 'We Give You Everything You Need' is also part of Karthago 1, in my memory Gerald´s song in the first place. 'Highway Seeker' and 'See You Tomorrow In The Sky' are tracks with a special guitar sound and Joey´s tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Also to mention is 'Phasing', handmade by Conny Plank.

Somehow, the electronic live version from the PA was not taped. So we had to retourch that while mixing in the studio. It was one of Conny´s giftedness to produce it manually with two tape recorders. Never will I forget how he did that full of fervency using his whole body - how he tightened his buttocks, lifted and lowered them, how he wiggled on tiptoe from one side to another like a prima ballerina, and finally - after relaxing his body again - how he smiled at us happily, the voluminous, long, blond hair combed behind the ears. Hey, old boy there up in heaven, I hope you are as pleased about my description as I was always pleased about your expressive 'action'. I thank Manfred and Ecki from M.I.G. for republishing that great piece of German music history 35 years after its development that I am lucky to be part of. The music is as timelessly good and present as if it was produced yesterday. Nobody could ever perform it better than the musicians of Karthago themselves if they only came on stage together again.

Düsseldorf, 29.03.2011
Cornelius Hudalla
producer, manager, photographer, journalist

Karthago - 1974 - Rock 'N Roll Testament

Rock 'N Roll Testament

01. Hard-Loving Woman - 3:35
02. We Gonna Keep It Together - 5:09
03. Now The Irony Keeps Me Company - 3:19
04. Rock 'N Roll Testament - 4:20
05. The Creeper - 4:00
06. Back Again - 4:00
07. Sound In The Air - 5:04
08. Highway Five - 3:40
09. For Kathy - 3:00
10. See You Tomorrow In The Sky - 3:45

Joey Albrecht - guitar, lead vocals
Ingo Bischof - keyboards
Glenn Cornick - bass
Conny (Konstantin) Bommarius - drums
Tommy Goldschmidt – percussions

Karthago - 1973 - Second Step

Second Step

01. Pacemaker - 2:42
02. I Don't Care - 5:44
03. Crosswords & Intermissions - 6:42
04. Don't Send Me Your Money, Send Me Your Heart - 5:12
05. Wild River - 5:26
06. Lamento Juvenil - 3:46
07. California Gigging - 3:02
08. "Oberbaum" Bridge - 7:36
09. Johnny B. Goode (Single A-Side, 1974) - 2:37
10. Going Down (Single B-Side, 1974) - 3:45

Joey Albrecht - guitar, vocals
Ingo Bischof - keyboards, vocals
Tommy Goldschmidt - percussion, vocals
Gerald "Luciano" Hartwig - bass, vocals
Norbert Lehmann - drums, percussion

Karthago - 1971 - Karthago


01. String Rambler - 5:19
02. I Don't Live Tomorrow - 2:43
03. But I Know - 5:31
04. Morning Surprise - 2:26
05. I Give You Everything You Want - 3:17
06. I Know You Can Do My Babe - 4:10
07. Why Don't You Stop Buggin' Me - 4:58
08. Black Fire - 4:42
09. Nos Vamos - 1:38

Joey Albrecht - guitar, lead vocals
Ingo Bischof - organ, vocals
Wolfgang Brock - drums, percussion, vocals
Thomas Goldschmidt - drums, percussion, vocals
Gerald Hartwig - bass, percussion, vocals

Karthago were founded in Berlin by Joey Albrecht (guitar, vocals) and Gerald Luciano Hartwig (bass). In 1970, they engaged the Bolivian percussionist Thomas Goldschmitt (mainly hand percussion) and got a recording contract with BASF. Two additional members were added to their line-up: Ingo Bischof (keyboards) and Wolfgang Brock (drums). "Karthago" was recorded in October 1971 graced with excellent heavy guitar work and the funky, gutsy vocals of J. Albrecht, recalling the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the heavy progressive funk band Funkadelic.

More Santana-esque instrumental work was present on "Second Step", recorded in May 1973. W. Brock had left for The Rattles in February 1973 and was replaced by Norbert 'Panzer' Lehmann on this album. Then Lehmann departed to the heavy progressive band "Epitaph", and he was replaced by Konstantin Bommarius (ex-2066 & Then, Abacus). Hartwig also left in the Summer of 1974. His replacement was something of a sensation at the time - Glenn Cornick (ex-Jethro Tull). They signed with Bacillus label and relocated to Oxford, England, in November 1974, where they recorded "Rock'n'Roll Testament".It marked a change of style towards a smooth, well-produced rock with some minor symphonic touches.

In January 1976 they recorded the double album "Live At The Roxy". As Glenn Cornick had quit the group, Gerald Hartwig was now back again. Albrecht, Bischof and Goldschmitt were also helped by Reinhard Bopp (guitar, vocals, ex-Hardcake Special) and Ringo Funk (drums, ex-Atlantis, ex-Jeronimo). This record literally became the 'Karthago testament', as the group disbanded in the Spring of 1976.

However, Albrecht later assembled Ringo Funk and Chico de los Reyes (piano, vocals) in the studio in the Summer of 1977 for the forgettable "Love Is A Cake"

Paris - 1976 - Big Towne, 2061

Big Towne, 2061

01. Blue Robin 02:28
02. Big Towne, 2061 04:33
03. Pale Horse, Pale Rider 03:25
04. New Orleans 04:18
05. Outlaw Game (Bob Welch, Hunt Sales) 05:20
06. Money Love (Bob Welch, Hunt Sales) 03:54
07. Heart Of Stone 02:42
08. Slave Trader 03:11
09. 1 In 10 03:01
10. Janie (Bob Welch, Glenn Cornick) 07:28

All songs written by Bob Welch, except where noted.

Bob Welch - vocals, guitar
Glenn Cornick - bass guitar, keyboards
Hunt Sales - vocals, drums, percussion

I didn't even have to go down stairs for this one.  I just pulled it off the living room turntable where it shows up a couple times a year.  Bob (Fleetwood Mac) Welch's version of a power trio was a commercial bomb.  Neither 2061 or the first album penetrated the billboard top 100.  It's a shame.  If I want to get pumped up in, I toss this on and listen to the frantic opening notes of "Blue Robin."  He's following Led Zepplin, but it's he's put his own identity on it as well.  Other tunes are trippy guitar excursions floating on waves of synth chords.  None of it sounds like the Mac with the exception of "Slave Trader," which could have fit on "Heroes are Hard to Find."  Best lyric:  "She likes money so much everytime we make love I got to keep my pants on, she likes to keep her hands in my pockets."

Sidemen for this LP were former Jethro Tull bassman Glenn Cornick and former Todd Rundgren (and future Bowie/Tin Machine) drummer Hunt Sales, whose odd backing vocals give the album a weird vibe.  It must have at least a few adherents as I saw the LP listed yesterday at a vinyl collector site for $21.  I used to own it on 8-track as well.

I remember quote from Welch from a Rolling Stone interview of Welch when it was released.  It went something like this:

"I want my sound to be like European decadence, like running your hands through raw hamburger just because you like the feel of it."

Paris - 1976 - Paris


01. Black Book 03:11
02. Religion 05:23
03. Starcage 03:58
04. Beautiful Youth 03:37
05. Nazarene 04:00
06. Narrow Gate (La Porte Etroite) 06:45
07. Solitaire 04:08
08. Breathless 03:22
09. Rock Of Ages 03:14
10. Red Rain 03:20

All songs written by Bob Welch.

Bob Welch - vocals, guitar
Glenn Cornick - bass guitar, keyboards
Thom Mooney - drums

After recording the Fleetwood Mac album Heroes Are Hard to Find, Bob Welch left that group and formed Paris with former Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick & former Nazz drummer Thom Mooney. This line-up recorded their self-titled debut Paris, the hardest-rocking album of Bob Welch's career.

Fronted by former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and vocalist Robert Welch, Paris recorded their self-titled debut LP for Capitol Records under the production reign of Jimmy Robinson, at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. The quickly-assembled power trio, filled out by ex-Jethro Tull bassist/keyboardist Glenn Cornick and one-time Nazz drummer Thom Mooney, wasted little time laying down the ten tracks that comprise the under-the-radar recording.

The big brass from Capitol did little to promote Paris, outside of a few industry ads and sending the band out on the road. As a result, the Paris LP became a long, lost collection of cuts in the wake of the big earthquakin' riffs set off by the hard rock landslide of 1976, that featured killer recordings and headlining tours from the likes of Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, Rainbow and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Despite being overshadowed by the competition, Paris delivered the hardware throughout their first studio shot. Each song from Paris was composed by Welch, which opens with the stop/start action of "Black Book", which segues into the Zep inspired big block rockin' "Religion". The chaotic "Religion" cruises off the rails to an out-of-control conclusion. Side one of Paris adds the heavy keyboard roller "Starcage", the open space "Beautiful Youth", which features Welch's clear vocals over dirty, biting guitar work, and the thumping bass mover "Nazarene".

The mellow, six-minute "Narrowgate (La Porte Etroite)", the longest track from the album, starts side two in a laid back manner. "Solitaire" is a melodic rock track with an edge and a thick bottom end, while the three-piece get down and funky on the wide-open "Breathless". The raucous "Rock of Ages" is banged out in short order before the Southern styled "Red Rain" closes out Paris.

Detective - 1977 - It Takes One To Know One

It Takes One To Know One

01. Help Me Up 4:20
02. Competition 4:42
03. Are You Talkin' to Me? 4:37
04. Dynamite 5:29
05. Something Beautiful 4:24
06. Warm Love 5:27
07. Betcha Won't Dance 4:27
08. Fever 4:44
09. Tear Jerker 4:31

The second and final album by this great band. They out Zeppelined, Zeppelin. With original Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch and original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye they were bound for super stardom. But they couldn't get along. Most groups wait until they make the big time before that starts. One of 1977's 10 best rock albums and it's dedicated to Elvis. I saw them open for Kiss in December of that year at Madison Square Garden and made Kiss look like a Jr. highschool band.

Detective guitarist Michael Monarch told me that Atlantic Records picked them up after this album and sent Detective in the studio with veteran producer Tom Dowd for their third album that was never completed.  Atlantic Records realized the potential of Detective, but they wanted a hit single. Tom Dowd had brought along a song by a new singer / songwriter named John Cougar. The song was "I Need A Lover That Won't Drive Me Crazy". Monarch said, the band didn't really want to record Cougar's song, but they did at Dowd's urging, along with some other songs they had. Sadly, that 3rd, Tom Dowd produced Detective album was never finished and the band broke up.

Detective - 1977 - Detective


01. Recognition 4:32
02. Got Enough Love 3:38
03. Grim Reaper 4:24
04. Nightingale 4:55
05. Detective Man 3:29
06. Ain't None of Your Business 4:32
07. Deep Down 3:07
08. Wild Hot Summer Nights 4:18
09. One More Heartache 5:24

Michael Des Barres (lead vocals)
Michael Monarch (guitar)
Bobby Pickett (bass, backing vocals)
Tony Kaye (keyboards)
Jon Hyde (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Detective's 1977 self titled debut is one of the greatest and most crunching Hard Rock albums of the 1970's. It is also one of the greatest unstoppable-avalanche heavy Drumming albums of all time, and the reason why is pretty clear. In the mid 1970's at the very height of their success, Led Zeppelin formed their own record label, Swan Song records. The first band signed to Swan Song was Bad Company, Detective came shortly thereafter. Jimmy Page himself oversaw the musical direction of Detective, and made sure Detective's powerful Drummer John Hyde sounded as much like John Bonham as possible..and he does. Some of the Drum tracks on Detective could crush Mt Rainier to powder. This album overall is a hideously powerful and polished Hard Rock gem, and the songs are just immense, culminating in the towering olympian heights of One More Heartache. if you're a fan of Zeppelin, powerful Drumming, of 1970's Hard Rock you're gonna love Detective.

Silverhead - 1973 - Live at The Rainbow

Live at The Rainbow

01. Hello New York    
02. James Dean    
03. Sold Me Down The River    
04. Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out    
05. Only You    
06. Ace Supreme    
07. Rolling With My Baby    
08. Will You Finance My Rock And Roll Band

Bonus Tracks (Michael Des Barres solo)
09. Leon
10. New Moon Tonite

Recorded Live AT Rainbow Theatre on November 9, 1973

Silverhead - 1973 - 16 and Savaged

16 and Savaged

01. Hello New York - 3:21
02. More Than Your Mouth Can Hold - 3:27
03. Only You - 4:14
04. Bright Light (Michael Des Barres) - 4:46
05. Heavy Hammer - 3:42
06. Cartoon Princess - 4:12
07. Rock Out Claudette Rock Out - 3:31
08. This Ain't A Parody - 3:22
09. 16 And Savaged - 4:22
10. Rolling With My Baby (Single A-Side, 1973) - 2:53

Michael Des Barres - lead vocals
Robbie Blunt - guitar, slide guitar
Rod Rook Davies - guitar, percussion, vocals
Nigel Harrison - bass
Pete Thompson - drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals
John "Rabbit" Bundrick - keyboards
Ian McDonald - saxophone
Alan Harris, Stuart Wicks – producers

Silverhead's second record, 16 and Savaged, finds the unit much tighter, yet like any great rock & roll band, they maintained that all-important swagger. The addition of guitarist Robbie Blunt gives the group an added punch, and he and Rod Davies proved to be one of glam's best twin-guitar attacks. Vocalist Michael Des Barres steps up as well, and his Steve Marriott-bumping-into-Rod Stewart rasp never sounded better, before or since. The boys come out blazing on the groovy opener, "Hello New York," nailing the Bolan strut and swiping the "Get It On" licks, while the gleefully sleazy "More Than Your Mouth Can Hold" has a definite Faces vibe, an intro borrowed from "Street Fighting Man," and all the subtlety of a Gene Simmons lyric. In fact, the near-metal crunch of the album may have been an influence on the still developing Kiss sound.

The lights lower for "Only You," and while Des Barres shines, the song ultimately misses the mark. The newfound intensity of the group is most evident on "Bright Light," a glam rock boogie monster that chugs along for a few minutes, before bursting at the seams for a photo finish that, paradoxically, sounds very much like a punk Led Zeppelin. The second half of the LP contains some fine and engaging rockers in "Heavy Hammer," "Cartoon Princess," and "Rock Out Claudette Rock Out," but is in desperate need of a ballad to help with the pacing — ideally one on par with Silverhead's "Wounded Heart" or "In Your Eyes." Unfortunately, the weaker final numbers are made all the more obvious by this lacking element, keeping the disc a notch below their debut. 16 and Savaged turned out to be their final studio album, and Silverhead have all but been forgotten. Though not without its faults, the album is still one of the most exciting records from the glam period, and it, along with the group itself, should be remembered as one of the era's finest.

Silverhead - 1972 - Silverhead


01. Long Legged Lisa 3:40
02. Underneath the Light 5:28
03. Ace Supreme 2:59
04. Johnny 4:28
05. In Your Eyes 6:05
06. Rolling With My Baby 3:55
07. Wounded Heart 5:26
08. Sold Me Down the River 4:24
09. Rock and Roll Band 5:56
10. Silver Boogie 1:05
Bonus Tracks
11. Ace Supreme [Single Version] 3:46
12. Oh No No No 3:56

Rod Davies - percussion, vocals, guitar
Michael Des Barres - vocals
Nigel Harrison - bass
Pete Thompson - keyboards, drums
Stevie Forest - guitar, vocals

A competent hard rock band. Their first album includes some diverse influences. There are some boogie-orientated tracks like 'Rock And Roll Band', 'Underneath The Light' (with good twin guitar work) and 'Rolling With My Baby' (which had a brass arrangement). There are Marc Bolan/T.Rex influences in 'Long Legged Lisa' and 'Sold Me Down The River', some Free and Deep Purple influences in 'Ace Supreme', as well as slow and mellow tracks like 'Wounded Heart' or the acoustic guitar-based 'Johnny'.  'In Your Eyes' is slow and mellow, at least in the beginning and in parts predates Steve Harley's (Cockney Rebel) vocal style, but also has some early seventies Mick Jagger/Stones influences too. Michael Des Barres was later in the late seventies hard rock band, Detective. They recorded on Deep Purple's Purple label and their albums were notable for some good guitar leads.

Michael Des Barres was one of the most fascinating and extraordinary characters to grace the Glam Rock era. A man with arresting good looks and a haunted air, he was essentially an actor who plunged himself into the role of pop/rock superstar. It may not have been an Oscar winning performance but he certainly carved out a niche for himself with his band Silverhead, and left a legacy of vibrant, hard edged rock performances.

Apart from his fame as a singer, Michael also gained celebrity through his marriage to one of America's most talked about groupies. Although now separated from her husband, Pamela Des Barres talks fondly about her early encounters and relationship with Michael in her revealing book, "I'm With The Band: Confessions Of A Groupie" (Jove). She called him 'My decadent Marquis' and most pictures of the star show a long-haired man with heavily made-up eyes, clad in tight leather trousers, stripped to the waist and covered in trinkets and jewelry. Behold - the rock god has come! Even during an era which had already spawned Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Marc Bolan, Des Barres seemed an alarming, over-the-top character apparently dedicated to a life of excess and decadence. However, from the evidence of his debut album, Michael took his musical chores seriously. It was just a shame if the rest of the rock industry didn't respond with quite the expected degree of fervour. Silverhead have since been described by critics as "probably the greatest undiscovered glam-pop band of the early seventies." While many lauded their singer's good looks and charisma, and appreciated his vocal powers, it was deemed that the band was probably too heavy for younger fans and not 'street cred' enough for serious rock fans.

If the band failed to break into the big time, it wasn't for wont of trying. Their original 1972 'Silverhead' (Purple) album was presented in a gate-fold sleeve with a classic cover design. This showed a menacing Des Barres strutting his stuff in the largest pair of flared, bell-bottomed loon pants seen in captivity. The inner sleeve had a montage of snapshots of the band posing in their best Hollywood glam style. Lots of pouting and lashings of mascara and lipstick. Interestingly, some of the photos were by B.P.Fallon, the legendary press officer for Marc Bolan and Led Zeppelin who has, in recent years, become a confidante of U2. The band members were all sturdy professionals who gave a good account of themselves and their efforts in the studio were deftly produced for the Purple label by the highly experienced Martin Birch. Silverhead comprised Michael Des Barres (vocals), Nigel Harrison (bass guitar), Stevie Forest (guitar, vocals), Rod 'Rook' Davies (guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals) and Pete Thompson (drums). To boost their sound a brass section was added on some tracks which featured Dave Caswell (trumpet), Lyle Jenkins (sax) and John Mumford (trombone). Keyboards were also used occasionally and there was even a vocal group on hand dubbed The Silverettes. Doubtless the intention was to supply Des Barres with a variety of backings, to give each song a suitably sympathetic treatment. At the same time, the band was allowed sufficient scope to express themselves, notably on the five-minute showcase number, 'Rock And Roll Band'.  Many of these performances reflect the prevailing trends of the day and listening to opening cut, 'Long Legged Lisa', is to be reminded of the strength of Marc Bolan's powerful influence. The slide guitar, simple lyrics and breathy cries of 'ooh, aah!' are pure T.Rex. The busy drumming style is also very typical of the early seventies, before drum machines appeared to instill some discipline. But 'Long Legged Lisa' is good fun and has a stronger rock pulse than Bolan might have employed.

An insistent cowbell beat introduced 'Underneath the Light', a Steve Forest composition, and he's responsible for the guitar breaks which reveal the combined influences of Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. 'Ace Supreme' is a song about a 'motor bike lover - ain't no other' which Michael intones with clenched teeth fury. Lines like 'She wiped his kick start clean' are pure Spinal Tap.

'Johnny' is a Des Barres composition which starts with acoustic accompaniment and goes on to tell the tale of a bold young killer. The backing swings into a country groove and the cowboy ballad style is the sort of thing Jon Bon Jovi would specialise in many years later.

On 'In Your Eyes' Michael switches to Mick Jagger mode for a slow country rocker, while 'Rolling With My Baby' has the brass section in full cry - in the next room. Seventies style mixing didn't go much on 'presence'.  You stay in your track, and I'll stay in mine! It's a lively piece, however.

"You know I hate to see you cry," sings Michael with passion and sincerity on his big ballad number, 'Wounded Heart', which is Silverhead's 'Stairway To Heaven' style production number. 'Sold Me Down The River' sees a return to the Bolan influence in the tiff department, while 'Rock And Roll Band' provides the grand finale with plenty of hot solos for the guitar department. But there is one more surprise to come. 'Silver Boogie' is a fifty-four second encore, which must have been a neat way to finish club gigs as the crowds roared for more and the roadies began chucking guitar leads into flight cases.

Their record label also released a seven-inch version of 'Ace Supreme', coupled with 'Oh No No No' in 1972, which is included on this CD, together with various outtakes. Alas, the band were unable to score any chart hits.

Silverhead recorded one more album, '16 And Savaged', in 1973 when guitarist Robbie Blunt replaced Steve Forest. After this release the band broke up, and the mascara scarred members went their separate ways heading for the dark, unknown abyss of the late seventies.

Nigel Harrison went on to play with Nite City and the more successful Blondie.

Michael Des Barres joined a group called Detective which sank into obscurity. He recorded a solo album in 1981 and then joined Power Station when he replaced vocalist Robert Palmer and toured with the band in the summer of 1985. Another solo album followed in 1986 and since then he has concentrated on acting on TV and in movies and has appeared in two sci-fi horror films, 'Nightflyers' and 'Ghoulies.' On the original sleeve for 'Silverhead' there is a little message which says, 'May You Come Forever'. A rather challenging task, but one that summed up the good time philosophy of this crew of merry glamsters and their hedonistic leader.

Strapps - 2008 - Live At The Rainbow 1977

Live At The Rainbow 1977

01. The Pain Of Love
02. Understand It
03. Soft Touch
04. Child Of The City
05. Violent Love / Secret Damage
06. Down To You
07. I Wanna Know
08. School Girl Funk

Studio Bonus Tracks
09. Riki
10. Suffer
11. Rita B

Mick Underwood - drums
Noel Scott - keyboards
Joe Read - bass
Ross Stagg - vocals, guitars

 Timing can often be more crucial, even over ability, in determining whether a band will make it or not. "Strapps", a four piece classic rock outfit featuring Ross Stagg on guitar and lead vocals and also future Gillan drummer Mick Underwood possessed plenty of ability it seems but in launching their assault on the rock world unfortunately lacked timing, coinciding as it did with the rise of Punk. Despite four albums between '76 and '79 they failed to breakthrough, yet on the evidence of this previously unreleased in-concert performance there is a solid rock band awaiting rediscovery.

Workmanlike classic rock with clear influences by way of Zeppelin, Deep Purple and even Bowie on occasion there is plenty of impressive guitar work and some occasionally dominant keyboards too hinting that they probably just lacked the killer song required to get attention, despite some high profile support slots. There's a strong live presence demonstrated immediately on opener "The Pain Of Love" despite the recording being in mono form only. The long medley of "Violent Love/Secret Damage" also impresses as the Purple/Gillan similarities really show, whilst the strictly un-P.C. finale of "School Girl Funk" is perhaps recorded proof of some sexism accusations mentioned in the cover notes and evident on the band album covers too.

If you're already aware of Strapps then chances are you'll want this live CD anyway, additionally perhaps thanks to three extremely impressive studio alternate mixes included as bonus tracks. If like me, they've passed you by so far, then selling for under a tenner this is a fine way of checking them out. It's certainly convinced me to seek out more by them.

Strapps - 1979 - Ball Of Fire

Ball Of Fire

01. Bring On The Thunder
02. Silent Slaughter
03. One Way Love
04. Evil
05. Power In Her Soul
06. Angry
07. Storm Of Love
08. Ball Of Fire
09. On the Heats

Produced by Strapps
Engineered by Bob Broglia

Strapps - 1978 - Prisoner Of Your Love

Prisoner Of Your Love

01. Bound For Glory
02. Prisoner Of Your Love
03. Let The Music Play
04. Rock'n'Roll Sensation
05. All Through The Night
06. It's Your Dream
07. Be Strong
08. Might Or Maybe
09. Look To The East
10. Need Your Love (To Break My Fall)

Produced by Pip Williams
Engineered by John Eden

Strapps - 1977 - Secret Damage

Secret Damage

01. Down to You
02. Pain of Love
03. Child of the City
04. In Your Ear
05. I Wanna Know
06. Soft Touch
07. Violent Love / Secret Damage

Produced and engineered by Chris Kimsey