Thursday, May 14, 2015

Xhol - 2009 - Essen 1970

Essen 1970

01. Sparkling Geysers (23:26)
02. A Freak-Out Blues (7:44)
03. Weird Bossa (6:16)
04. Surrealistic Scenery (12:11)

- Tim Belbe / sax, flute
- Öcki Brevern / organ
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Skip van Wyck / drums

Soul Caravan - 2006 - Live 1969

Soul Caravan 
Live 1969

01. My Favorite Things 8:37
02. All Green 13:15
03. Skipping 4:00
04. (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Day 4:16
05. Lick a Stick 7:20

Some very enjoyable and impressive jazzy playing here, but the recording quality is subpar (although excusable as an archival release from this era).

Xhol - 2006 - Altena 1970

Altena 1970

01. I can't wait (35:11)
02. Electric fun fair (9:26)
03. Xholenium (37:15)

- Skip Van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone, flute
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Öcki Von Brevern / keyboards

Xhol Caravan - 2006 - Altena 1969

Xhol Caravan
Altena 1969

01. le' (10:10)
02. So Damn So Down and So Blue (4:38)
03. Psychedelic Sally (4:12)
04. Emptiness (4:36)
05. Freedom Opera (56:44)

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone, flute
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Öcki / keyboards

Fantastic live show recorded in 1969 and released in 2006.

Xhol were one of the earliest Krautrockers, releasing their 1st in 1969. These guys were unknown & undiscovered until the recent Krautrock revival & are still underappreciated. This is over 80' of them at their wild, jamming, krautrock peak, featuring dual reeds, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and still with singer James Rhodes, who would leave shortly after, when the band would then change their name again (from Soul Caravan to Xhol Caravan and finally to Xhol). Includes the infamous "Freedom Opera", which lasts over 55'! Very good sound considering the age of the recordings, and the usual amazingly thorough job by Garden of Delights, including liner notes and lots of photos.

Xhol Caravan - 2001 - Motherfuckers Live

Xhol Caravan 
Motherfuckers Live (1968-1969)

Disc 1 - Freedom Opera (1968) (56:50)
101. Acapulco Gold (Xhol)
102. Poems (Adapted from Vanilla Fudge)
103. Season of the Witch (Donovan Leitch)
104. Freedom Poem (Xhol/James Rhodes)
105. African Song (Xhol)
106. Talking to my Soul (Xhol)
107. Freedom Poems (Xhol/James Rhodes)
108. Planet Earth (Xhol)

Disc 2 - WDR Radio Live 1969 (56:58)
201. WDR Radio Live 1969

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone & flute
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Öcki / keyboards
- James Rhodes / vocals
- Werner Funk / guitar

Xhol Caravan's debut "Electrip" is generally considered the first true Krautrock album, at least as the term is commonly understood. So one can only imagine the glee that Steve Stapleton must've felt when he was able to put his hands on these tapes from 1968! This is a truly extraordinary historical document, and shows that Xhol Caravan had long since ditched their soul roots as found on "Get on High" from 1967. The 57 minute 'Freedom Opera' suite is not easy listening, and there are frequent bouts of noise and free jazz to endure, but also plenty of reckless psychedelic abandon as only the Germans knew how to do. Psychotic ramblings, wailing sax, flute, fuzz guitar and organ are the ingredients for this once-in-a-lifetime recording. The WDR Radio session from a year later shows the band is progressing rapidly, incorporating more melody into the proceedings. For the most part, this one stays in the rails, and is like an extended version of the best parts of "Electrip".

Xhol Caravan - 1972 - Mother Fuckers gmbh

Xhol Caravan
Mother Fuckers gmbh

01. Radio (2:30)
02. Leistungsprinzig (1:30)
03. Orgelsolo (9:26)
04. Side 1 first day (7:05)
05. Grille (6:58)
06. Love Potion 25 (13:11)

- Skip van Wyk / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Öcki / keyboards

Xhol's last studio release is certainly the one with the highest portion of Krautrock atmosphere by them and a highly experimental one. Actually three of the six tracks on here consist mainly of sound experiments whereas the other three depict really brilliant jammin' jazz-rock done in the best tradition of Canterbury bands. BTW they cancelled the part Caravan from their name later on to avoid confusion with this well-known band. I guess it's worth mentioning that the material presented here has been recorded already in 1970 which is shown by the label "2 years old" on the cover. Taking this fact into account this band certainly has to be considered as one of the most inventive and adventurous ones of those days.

The album starts quite oddly with tuning of a radio and interferences, bits of announcements and excerpts from some soul/blues songs (all of them from their debut still under the name Soul Caravan BTW). The last one reminding slightly to SOFT MACHINE leads over to "Leistungsprinzip" which is basically jazz-rock in Canterbury vein with organ, playful sax, droning bass and drums. Next one "Orgelsolo" is exactly what it's titled that is a quite extended spacey and "kosmische" weird solo on organ. Last song on side one of the vinyl "Side One First Day" is a rather up-tempo jammin' piece of jazz-rock with organ, flute, bass and drums. Second side starts with the next sound experiment "Grille" which is actually just the recorded sound of a cricket with some descrete flute and percussion in the back. The rest of the record is occupied by the long jammin' piece "Love Potion 25" which is actually a jazz-rocking rendition of a song by doo-wop band The Clovers from 1959. Having plenty of slightly psychedelic organ sound and great sax playing in its middle part and quite a fiery and rocking finish, this song is for me the highlight on here and offers a kind of final reward for listening to this admittedly wearisome album.

This oddly named album is certainly not suitable for every Prog fan and might be considered as aquired taste, at least in its experimental parts but anyway I'd highly recommend it to any fan of Krautrock and adventurous music. ESSENTIAL EARLY GERMAN PROGRESSIVE ROCK!

Xhol - 1971 - Hau - RUK

Hau - RUK

01. Breit (24:13)
02. Schaukel (20:20)

Bonus track:
03. Süden Twi Westen (21:55)

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Klaus Briest / bass (1,2)
- Öcki / keyboards
- Norbert Dömling / bass (3)
- Hansi Fischer / flute, saxophone (3)

This album contains three improvised songs beyond the 20 minute mark. The first two were recorded live in Göttingen/Germany at the beginning of July 1970 and the last studio one, which only appears on the GOD compact disc reissue, is a little surprise because produced four years later which was two years after the official breakup of the band!

XHOL originally wanted to make a double LP as a studio and live split but the OHR label, headed by R. U. Kaiser, didn't agree and enforced a regular live production. So the members, a little bit angry about that, provided this album with the encrypted name 'Hau-RUK'. RUK stands for Kaiser's initials and 'Hau' is a german synonym corresponding to 'beat'.

'Haste einen Freund dann rauch mit ihm den Scheund' is printed on the album back side which can be figuratively translated to 'If you have a friend you should smoke a joint with him'. And that points to the essence of this spaced out recordings. Here we have simply structured jazz rock oriented jams in the absence of electric guitar but with diverse keyboard and brass contributions. If the listener does not lose his patience and is able to get used to the special meditative style of the band - only cut off by some explosive parts here and there - all obstacles are cleared further on.

Breit needs time to get involved with - a short name but a long meandering track and probably a description for the current condition of the band and the audience at this evening. The song rises slowly from minute to minute with canterbury leanings near to Soft Machine. The band members are interacting awfully good with a strange weird organ and wah-wah deformed saxophone. Schaukel - another german song name with a strange intellectual challenge - works nearly in the same way with more bluesy components including a reminiscence to the classic 'Rock me Baby' and it would be no problem to join the songs to one title.

Süden Twi Westen was recorded at the famous Dierks Studios on the other hand and looks like to be a result of a XHOL reunion which finally had not been completed. Norbert Dömling and Hansi Fischer, only contributing to this bonus track, are wellknown for me because they also played with Missus Beastly and Embryo. This song differs to the latter for some reasons - stylistically in the earlier XHOL CARAVAN mood, with a better sound quality and more elaborated and gripping. The band delivers a swinging jazzy begin with flute/saxophone and electric piano interrupted by experimental keyboard and flute contributions, later continuing in a more groovy mood and finally coming back to a very jazzy sound.

The original vinyl version of 'Hau-RUK' is a little bit unvaried according to my taste but the Garden Of Delights reissue, gentrified with the bonus track, is highly recommended though - interesting for fans who like to hear escalating jams with jazz rock orientation.

Xhol Caravan - 1969 - Electrip

Xhol Caravan

01. Electric Fun Fair (6:25)
02. Pop Games (6:56)
03. All Green (7:38)
04. Raise Up High (17:45)
05. Walla Masallah (1:38)

Bonus Tracks:
06. Planet Earth (2:46)
07. So Down (3:29)

- Skip van Wyck / drums
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone, flute
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Öcki / keyboards

A very important album in the history of Krautrock. This was one of Germany's first progressive records, and perhaps the first Krautrock recording. In the book "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg" they say "Electrip" was one hell of a remarkable album, especially for the 60's, an electric sax and organ fronted fusion with a great deal of invention and energy...remarkable throughout !" This album was a blend of Free Jazz and psychedelia with a dash of humour. Yes Frank Zappa does come to mind, but this is more about long extended jams and improvisation. I just love the way these guys jammed. Flautist and sax player Hansi Fischer would leave soon after this record to join EMBRYO.

"Electric Fun Fair" opens with the sound of a toilet flushing followed by a circus-like melody before we get to the rest of the song. Sax and drums lead the way with some great organ runs 3 minutes in as drums pound. Sax is back 6 minutes in. "Pop Games" opens with chipmunk-like voices before drums, bass and sax take over. Great sound. It settles before 3 minutes as drums and other sounds come and go with no melody until 4 minutes in when a hypnotic beat is joined by some powerful organ 5 minutes in.

"All Green" is classic XHOL. I like this one a lot. It's like Free Jazz as drums, organ and sax stand out as they just jam. The bass also becomes prominant later. "Raise Up High" features vocals that are pretty raw but they work. Drums, flute, sax and organ stand out as he sings away. One line he sings is "We're gonna all get stoned, and then get blown." Where's the toilet flush ? Haha. It calms down 6 minutes in with sax sounds as it starts to build. Drums, organ and other sounds come and go until the main melody returns 9 minutes in and they jam. "Walla Masallah" is a short song with spoken words in German with a simple melody.

Soul Caravan - 1967 - Get in High

Soul Caravan 
Get in High

01. So much soul (3:09)
02. Hey, hey, hey, what is this you are doing baby (2:35)
03. Memories (3:30)
04. Booking up (2:31)
05. Get in high / Shotgun (5:50)
06. Hold on, baby (2:24)
07. African song (4:05)
08. Just a fantasy (4:14)
09. Land of 1000 dances (4:10)
10. She is my baby (2:56)
11. Psychedelic soul (5:13)

- James Rhodes / vocals
- Ronnie Swinson / vocals
- Tim Belbe / saxophone
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone
- Klaus Briest / bass
- Werner Funk / guitar
- Skip van Wyck / drums

Before Tangerine Dream, before Embryo, before Kraftwerk, before even the Ohr label, Xhol Caravan released what may be the first album to rightly own the name Krautrock. The band started as a straightforward soul group, Soul Caravan, and bastardized the name for the new direction the group was heading. Early innovators of the creative German sound, and borrowing heavily from that country’s love of jazz, Xhol Caravan would always be a historical footnote. Sadly the band disbanded before it could be granted legendary status

XHOL was one of the first bands who participated at the send of the 60s to the launch of the Krautrock movement in Germany. Nevertheless their music cannot be categorised. Their roots came from rhythm'n blues with soul tendencies. With their second album "electrip" they rapidly found their own style which can be considered as an original fusion of free jazz, psychedelic rock and electronic experimentations. Very dynamic their jazz rock can sometimes be compared with the spirit of the psychedelic soul developed by SOFT MACHINE. However the unusual use of electric instruments and electronic manipulations made XHOL absolutely unique. After "Electric", the band carries on their musical adventure with two great and totally free jazz rock albums. Dominated by endless, electric and cool improvisations "Hau Ruk" is a must for fusion and jazz lovers. Their last studio album "Motherf**kers GmbH" recorded in 1972 is a monument. All the compositions have their own feelings, sometimes delivering captivating and powerful blues, kraut, and jazz elements. However this album put the stress on a second fascinating side of XHOL's musical universe: experimental organ works and psych/ folk interludes. This last album is nearer to Krautrock mesmerizing musical themes, more twisted, spacey and devoted to avant-garde. XHOL's influence on a bench of german prog bands and on the adepts of free rock music in general is undeniable.

Missus Beastly - 2006 - Bremen 1974

Missus Beastly 
Bremen 1974

01. Free Clinic (27:31)
02. Green Girl (9:12)
03. Steel's Electric (9:40)

- Friedemann Josch / flute, sax
- Jürgen Benz / sax, flute
- Lutz Oldemeier / drums
- Norbert Dömling / bass
- Eddy Marron / guitar

This album contains three instrumental jazz rock jams recorded by Radio Bremen in September 1974 shortly after the band had produced the second LP. Keyboarder Dieter Miekautsch had left the band towards EMBRYO and Eddy Maron, also known from contributions for VITA NOVA and DZYAN, brings new aspects to the music - it's quite a new impression of the band. The sound quality leaves nothing to be desired by the way.

The twentyseven minute Free Clinic is known as a (way shorter) bonus live track from the digitalized version of the second MISSUS BEASTLY album. Sometimes even with a free jazz touch they are jamming all the way through with excellent interaction. Lutz Oldemeier is much more than a drum machine - he plays varied even using his instrument for solo excursions when backing the others on the way to what destination ever. Norbert Dömling acts impressing as usual with his funky bass and the brass instruments are swirling around all over there.

Green Girl is quite more accessible - canterburiesque with a fusion oriented guitar. Dömling surprisingly changes his style right in the middle from somewhat angular to funky. On Steel's Electric Eddy Maron gets the chance to shine with his guitar skills completely - no wonder - a song which was composed by himself. The band once again plays near to a free jazz style with weird flute and saxophone contributions.

A very good show documenting a new facet of the MISSUS BEASTLY band and a highlight for fans of improvised jazz rock

Missus Beastly - 1978 - Spaceguerilla

Missus Beastly 

01. Space Guerilla (10:48)
02. Guitar For Sale (7:57)
03. Rahsaan Roland Kirk (2:50)
04. Fuzzy, Don't Go To The Disco (3:21)
05. Hoffmannstropfen (6:04)
06. Cose Dola (5:17)
07. For Flü (6:57)
08. King Garlic (6:40)

- Friedemann Josch / wind
- Locko Richter / bass, violin
- Burkard Schmidl / keyboards, percussion, vocals
- Jan Zelinka / drums

The band has changed beyond recognition a little bit - it's jazz rock respectively fusion by all means but somewhat more in a classic straightforward way - not that weird and with krautrock leanings as shown by the earlier band incarnations. Keyboarder Burghard Schmidl and Friedemann Josch are left from the former line-up. Locko Richter plays a solid part but cannot really manage to be an equal alternative to Norbert Dömling.

The excellent fusion track Space Guerilla as the highlight is performed with much dynamic dominated by Burkhard Schmidl who substitutes the (missing?) rhythm guitar with his keyboard. And therefore not missing a guitarist they are able to offer the Guitar for Sale starting in the wellknown MISSUS BEASTLY or EMBRYO style but drifting into 'shallow waters' in the second half with a decent piano solo. Rahsaan Roland Kirk is a solo flute performance by Josch and then the album developes into a weaker average direction more and more. For Flü appears as a noticable exception with some breaks and changing moods. Cose Dola is not more than a nice pun. 'Dose Cola' in german means a Coke tin. The closing King Garlic is proper most certainly but not really recognizable as a common MISSUS BEASTLY output though.

Missus Beastly - 1978 - Dr.Aftershave & The Mixed-Pickles

Missus Beastly 
Dr.Aftershave & The Mixed-Pickles

01. Miles All Along The Watchtower (6:05)
02. High Life (4:41)
03. Morning Sun (6:45)
04. Gurus For Sale (5:15)
05. La Plage De Patcha Menga (5:19)
06. Nothing Again (10:02)
07. Patscha Menga Underground (3:40)
08. For Eri (2:58)
09. Slow One [Stoppt Strauß]* (6:57)
10. For Flü* (7:35)

* live bonus tracks Garden Of Delights re-issue
recorded at 'Umsonst & Draußen' Vlotho festivals 1976/1977

- Friedemann Josch / flute, sax
- Norbert Dömling / bass, percussion
- Jürgen Benz / sax, flute
- Butze Fischer / drums, percussion
- Burkard Schmidl / keyboards, vocals, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Roman Bunka / guitar
- Maria Archer / vocals
- Wolli Tümmler / sax
- Ömmes / congas
- Christian Burchard / vibes

This was MISSUS BEASTLY's third studio album released in 1976. If you'll notice on the cover art they have the album's title as such as to look like it's the band's name, and the title of the album looks like it would be "For Missus Beastly". A trick by the band really so that they wouldn't have to release this album with Dieter Dierks and Venus Music to which their contract stipulated that they had to.They had had a falling out with Producer Dierks over the cover art of their last album and felt so strongly about it that they refused to work with him anymore. So they formed their own label called April which was later changed to Schneeball. Hard to believe they could get away with this, although i'm glad they did considering the circumstances.That unwanted cover art from their last album wasn't the only injustice the band experienced as some copy cat band started releasing albums under the MISSUS BEASTLY name. I should also mention that MISSUS BEASTLY and EMBRYO were closely related and often had members coming and going from one band to the other.

"Miles All Along The Watchtower" is very Jazzy and certainly as the title suggests brings Miles Davis to mind but with sax instead of trumpet.Great sound to this one with the intricate drum work and sax, and I like when the piano leads after the sax stops too. "High Life" is a rare vocal track with sax and female vocal melodies leading early.The vocal melodies turn into English vocals. We get a laid back instrumental section to end it. "Morning Sun" is again very Jazzy and again Miles Davis comes to mind. It's pretty intense 2 1/2 minutes in then it settles down righ to the end. "Gurus For Sale" has a killer sound to start then it settles in with the sax playing over top. Bass to the forefront before 3 1/2 minutes as the drums pound. Guitar ends it with passion.

"La Plague De Patscha" is good with the flute playing over top of the drums, bass and piano. It settles down 2 minutes in as the flute stops. It's building then we get female vocal melodies before 4 minutes then sax. "Nothing Again" is uptempo to start then it calms right down just before a minute including intricate guitar. It picks back up after 2 1/2 minutes and sax joins in too. A change before 6 minutes as it settles down with guitar. Piano takes over before 8 minutes then it picks up again for the big finish. "Patscha Menga Underground" has these intricate pulses and beats as the flute plays over top. Sax takes over just before a minute then the flute returns. Piano leads before 3 1/2 minutes to end it. "For Evi" is a short piano led tune.

An extremely well played Jazz / Rock / Fusion album from this German band although I wouldn't expect anything else.

Missus Beastly - 1974 - Missus Beastly

Missus Beastly 
Missus Beastly

01. Julia (3:54)
02. 20th Century Break (5:02)
03. Geisha (5:23)
04. Vacuum Cleaners Dance (5:17)
05. Paranoidl (4:20)
06. Fly Away (7:46)
07. Talle (5:40)
08. Free Clinic* (6:42)
09. Voodoo Dance* (6:13)
10. Paranoidl* (3:43)
11. Vloflutho* (5:00)

*bonus tracks on CD release, recorded 1974/75

- Norbert Dömling / bass, guitar
- Friedeman Josch / flute, sax
- Jürgen Benz / sax, flute
- Lutz Oldemeier / drums
- Dieter Miekautsch / keyboards

After a two years rest, MB reconvened through a few gigs and chance meetings and the line-up was sensibly different with only drummer Oldemeier and flutist/saxman Benz (who had not recorded on their first Lp) left, but with Missing Link keyboardist Miekausch and bassist/guitarist Dömling and other wind instrumentalist Josch. Graced with a rather tasteless banana-gorilla artwork, this album would turn out rather differently to MB's previous incarnation's sole release but was recorded at the inevitable Dieter Dierks' studio.

Out of the silence come jungle beats soon joined by a jazzy flute and cool electric piano over a funky bass, and the tone is set: MB was definitely up-to-date and very jazzy, reminding McCoy Tyner's piano works (as Coltrane's great ex-sideman was also hanging around in Germany, recording his best albums), but coming to a very abrupt end. The follow-up is starting just as abruptly, bringing you back a bit where the opening track had left things at. Obviously the two saxmen/flauters were often taking up after Miekausch's piano, Coltrane is never far away, but the album is resolutely rock- funk in spirit as evident with Geisha. The next track Vacuum Cleaner Dance and Paranoidl are definitely more fusion-like approaching Weather Report or RTF. A steady bass beat is slowly overtaken by a twirling piano first than a synth, on what is (IMHO) the album's centrepiece Fly Away before heading towards Brand X-type of fusion before veering Trane-like. The closing Talle (after the village where they rehearsed) is an excellent calm mid-tempo track where Dömling's guitar is finally heard, dubbed over his funky bass line.

The GOD reissue (avoid the Germanophone bootleg) comes with four bonus tracks, three of which were live in 74 and the fourth from 75, with Free Clinic announcing the colours but is thankfully not veering into atonal improvs but ending at bit shoddily. On the whole, those bonus track present a different facet of the band, but if clearly not linked to the original album, the contrast being evident), they do not shock the listener much and it would be unfair to say the hinder the album's rating.

With the controversial artwork dispute leading the band onto another label, and Miekausch re-joining Embryo, MB would record a few more albums with an ever- changing line-up. In the meantime, this album is one brilliant example of the day's JR/F and if not groundbreaking, this is typically the type of album that consolidated the broken ground. Excellent and much worth the spin.

Missus Beastly - 1970 - Missus Beastly

Missus Beastly 
Missus Beastly

01. XOX (1:26)
02. Uncle Sam (5:39)
03. Shame On You (8:57)
04. Decision (2:55)
05. Chinese love Song (1:01)
06. Mean Woman (Woody Mouse) (7:57)
07. Aphrodisiakum (8:56)

- Lutz Oldemeier / drums
- Atzen Wehmeyer / guitar, vocals
- Petja Hofman / bass, vocals
- Wolfgang Nickel / keyboards

- Hansi Fischer / flute
- Chris Karrer / guitar
- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Dieter Serfas / drums

One of the first underground German psych groups around, MB was known as Psychotic Reaction then Reaction before changing their name to an afro American TV show doll. They experienced quite a success live, but by the time they came to record their debut album, they had nothing ready for it, so they had to dig up old live songs, and according to bassist Hofman, the album is absolutely not representative of their stage sets.

Indeed this first album might appear quite deceiving compared to the band's future jazz- rock albums, because it is a full-psyched-out rock often delving in jazzy-blues-rock. The four main tracks (ranging from 5'30" to 9 minutes) of the album are all in this genre, and while enjoyable and well played, there is nothing extraordinary which would really interest most progheads, outside the psych flavour: they even sound like early TYA. The three shorter tracks (max 3 minutes) are even more psychedelic, but are amounting to being almost negligible. Indeed this album is really not that much essential to progheads, but can be a curiosity to Missus Beastly fans and to those psych-minded progheads as well.

This album will then be pirated (straight from the vinyl, therefore of inferior quality) quickly under the name Nara Asst Incense, and a group named MB with no link with the legit one will then live off the reputation of the name and even record two albums of their own. On the other hand, obviously the real MB was completely disorganized and only partially existed, but at one point the group will align seven musicians (including two wind players). The group will eventually fold, before being reformed on the request of ex-Missing Link Dieter Miekautsch, and former MB Jurgen Benz who asked the only remaining original drummer Lutz Oldermeier to reform. But this is another story.

Joy Unlimited - 1974 - Minne

Joy Unlimited 

01. Origo (2:45)
02. Minne Wunder Kan Din Güete / Monogam - Polygram (6:01)
03. Der Din Wip Alrerst Betrouc (2:10)
04. Cinctura Virginae (2:34)
05. Swer Gieht, Daz Minne Sünde Si / Abruptio (4:30)
06. Venus (2:57)
07. Al Min Fröide (2:03)
08. Thermae (3:16)
09. Roter Mund Wie Do Dich Swachest (3:11)
10. Baccahnal (4:32)
11. Flos Lividus I (4:48)
12. Flos Lividus II (6:28)

Bonus tracks:
13. Atlantic (2:58)
14. Rhinozeros (2:53)
15. Jaguar (3:11)
16. Spiralnebel (2:20)
17. Early Morning Moanin (3:51)
18. Proud Angelina (3:34)
19. Achtigall (2:13)
20. Gerd Köthe: Time Machine (2:58)
21. Gerd Köthe: Electric Circus (2:56)

Joschi Dinier / vocals
Hans W. Herkenne / drums, percussion
Albin Metz / trumpet, bass
Roland Heck / organ, piano, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals
Dieter Kindl / bass, guitar, percussion
Gerd Köthe / saxophone, flute
Klaus Nagel / guitar, woodwind, percussion, flute
Hans Lingenfelder / guitar

What a strange career arc Germany’s Joy Unlimited has had. Beginning as a vehicle for legendary rock & soul singer Joy Fleming, then the band went on to collaborate with ballet choreographer Lothar Höfgen, first with a highly eccentric album featuring Joy (Schmetterlinge), then a somewhat similar (yet slightly toned-down) one featuring American vocalist Ken Traylor (Reflections).

Minne is the third and final fruit of the collaboration. Now featuring German singer Joschi Dinier, the band take their brassy jazz-rock into an odd, folky direction on this album. Only a few tracks feature the full-on brass sound of earlier releases, acoustic guitars, recorders and harpsichords making up the bulk of the sound this time. Also some full-force Mellotron strings on the opening and closing tracks. Vocals are in an archaic, medieval dialect of German.

I’ve often heard this album compared to BröselMaschine, Emtidi or early Hoelderlin. I suppose such comparisons are valid in that if you like them, you’ll likely enjoy this too. But this album has a unique spark all its own. I really like it a lot!

Joy Unlimited - 1973 - Reflections

Joy Unlimited 

01. Reincarnation (04:32)
02. Oceans Of Ruins (05:01)
03. King Richard's Court Jester (02:30)
04. Colossus Of Steel And Iron (02:27)
05. Crystal Palace (04:07)
06. Motion Is Movement/Hate Nine And Ten (05:40)
07. The Search For Father Time (06:40)
08. Silenty Sung (04:00)
09. Question (04:29)

Bonus tracks:
10. Believe Me (05:27)
11. Peters Zeitmaschine (02:53)
12. Navigationen (02:08)
13. Mosaik (03:41)
14. Francesco's Horse (04:26)
15. Sister Christine (03:50)
16. One Small Step (03:41)
17. Highway Affair (02:42)
18. Early Morning Moanin (03:16)
19. Proud Angelina (02:55)

Ken Taylor / vocals
Hans W. Herkenne / drums, percussion
Albin Metz / trumpet, bass
Roland Heck / organ, piano, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals
Dieter Kindl / bass, guitar, percussion
Gerd Köthe / saxophone, flute
Klaus Nagel / guitar, woodwind, percussion, flute
Hans Lingenfelder / guitar

In the second half of the 1960s the Mannheim-based band known as Joy Bc The Hit Kids has gained a popularity in the club circuit, playing many live shows and issuing a bunch of singles on the Decca label. Their repertoire consisted mostly of simple adaptations of popular beat and rhythm'n'blues pieces, but the band's playing was incredibly tight and professional, while their female vocalist Joy Fleming could easily rival Janis Joplin in terms of rocking energy. With a considerable change of public prefer-ences in the late 1960s, the band's style moved towards psychedelic rock, but it still contained plenty of rhythm'n‘blues rudiments. The name "Joy And The Hit Kids" referred to the previous musical era so the band took the imposing title "Joy Unlimited" instead. Soon the contract with Polydor has been signed and in 1970 Joy Unlimited's debut album "Overground" has finally seen the light of day.
Musically it was a nice collection of short songs ranging from pop-rock to psychedelic-tinged blues-rock. Joy Fleming was clearly inspired by canis Joplin and her excellent vocal parts benefited this LP. Besides her, the band consisted of drummer Hans Herkeene, bassist/trombonist Albin Metz, key-boardist/vocalist Roland Heck, bassist/saxophonist/vocalist Dieter Kindl and guitarist/flautist/vocalist Klaus Nagel.
Soon after "Overground" being released, the band has been kicked out from Polydor (for unknown reasons), so their next effort, entitled "Schmetteriinge“ appeared a year later on the famous German progressive label Pilz. Indeed, it was a much more progressive effort, where the blues-rock showoffs, typical for the band's early years were excellently combined with proggy arrangements (igni saw the arrival of yet one winds-player Gerd Kothe) and even some free-jazz weirdness (listen to the track "Sensual Impressions”). Overall it was a wonderfully versatile album and fans of German prog would cer-tainly like it a lot. The important fact is that "Schmetterlinge" featured music written and performed for no less than a conceptual rock ballet! This album proved one of Joy Unlimited's ultimate masterpieces and has been also released in USA on the BASF label under the title "Butterflies“(English equivalent for "Schmetterlinge").
Following "Schmetterlinge” release, Joy Fleming left the band to pursue a solo career (which turned out pretty successful). Disappointed with this fact guitarist and one of the main songwriters Klaus Nagel dropped out as well, but the remaining quintet decided to keep on composing and performing music as Joy Unlimited so the American-born vocalist Ken Traylor has been called aboard to replace Joy. "Reflections", released in 1973 04 BASF, established the band as one of the leading German progressive acts. Here are no breathtaking stylistic diversity a-la "Schrnetterlinge“ – instead we get several excellent purely progressive tracks, reminiscent of Frumpy or Jane with the prominent horn-section added. Influences of folk, hard-rock and classical music has been mixed together to form a wonderful musical puzzle, very typical of the early 1970s progressive rock.
Traylor and Kindl left the band before its final album "Minne to be replaced with vocalist/guitarist Joschi Dinier, guitarist I-lans Lingenfelder 5 the returning Klaus Nagel. Once again released on BASF label, "Minne" (1974) signified the band's shift towards folk-prog, still they were far more competent on this field than many other German folk-prog groups. Yet one masterpiece from Joy Unlimited, this album contains several very tight and sophisticated tracks, departing from the rough heavy progressive rock of "Reflections". If "Schmetterlinge” is the most diverse Joy Unlimited's album ever and "Reflections" is the most energetic and rocking one, "Minne” could well serve as the most beautiful work the band ever recorded.
With the demise of this talented band German prog-rock scene lost one of its brightest representa-tives. Too bad Joy Unlimited hasn't got a wider recongnition in the time of their existence and even worse is that no their albums have been officially released on CD, while the original LPs has become very sought after. With this reissue you can dive into the wonderful world of the unlimited joy without pay-ing megabucks for the BASF LP. As brothers Freeman rightly put in their "Cosmic Dreams At Play" book, "Joy Unlimited were a constantly surprising and inventive band".

Joy Unlimited - 1971 - Schmetterlinge

Joy Unlimited

01. Rudiment 4:27
02. Connection 1:30
03. That's the Key 2:32
04. For You and Me 1:40

05. Suppression 2:56
06. Rankness 2:37
07. Face of War 3:28
08. Free 2:08
09. Sensual Impressions 7:14
10. Quintessence 2:35

11. Eden Park 2:58
12. Metamorphosis 3:08
13. In Search for the Last Word 1:59
14. Rising Mind 2:55
15. Eden Park Again 1:44


16. Neckarbracken Blues
17. All Heaven And All Earth Are Silent
18. Silver Gun
19. Peace Train

Joy Fleming / vocals
Hans W. Herkenne / drums, percussion
Albin Metz / trumpet, bass
Roland Heck / organ, piano, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals
Dieter Kindl / bass, guitar, percussion
Gerd Köthe / saxophone, flute
Klaus Nagel / guitar, woodwind, percussion, flute
Hans Lingenfelder / guitar

First off, vocals. I was convinced that powerful female vocal was coming from the throat of African origin; it turned out singer is a small white girl. But what a power! Powerful, ranging from clean to raspy, sometimes pleasantly overdubbed. Lots of soul and rhythm 'n' blues influences.

But what is this? What are we talking about?

It's difficult to explain. It's definitely a German record, krautrock elements, although not omnipresent, are very evident. Also, the Germany-style catchy melodies, simple but perfectly working within a context - it's hard to explain. Like GROBSCHNITT at their best, but this band has nothing to do with them.

There's also a lot of blues and soul, as mentioned. In fact there are a couple of straightforward, non-prog tunes, and I'm glad the band wasn't petrified in one genre. There's also a cool blues number with German lyrics and good vibraphone. I don't understand anything of German language, except 'Kleine, komm hier'. Speaking of, lyrics are often sexually tinged (which is awesome with such a voice), or naive in it's hippie ideology.

Other aspects worth mentioning are psychedelic rock, saxophone, some heavy rock, powerful Hammond and very good, tight, funky grooves. Now try to fuse everything; it's bizarre as it gets.

This is pointless. I don't have the words to describe it. If you imagine Eclectic Prog as some wacky version of prog, to sinister for jazz rock, to angular for Symphonic, and now try to imagine all that mixed with SOUL MUSIC...and..I mentioned it's a good record, didn't I?

Joy Unlimited - 1970 - Overground

Joy Unlimited

01. Save Me Save Me
02. Groove With What You've Got
03. All Together Now
04. I Hold No Grudge
05. Feelin'
06. Take Me To The Pilot
07. Have You Met Anyone Lately
08. It's Not Alright
09. I Just Made Up My Mind
10. Mr Pseudonym
11. Mr Slater
12. Helpless Child
13. Sunshine
14. Oh Darlin'
15. Daytime Nighttime

Joy Fleming / vocals
Hans W. Herkenne / drums, percussion
Albin Metz / trumpet, bass
Roland Heck / organ, piano, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals
Dieter Kindl / bass, guitar, percussion
Gerd Köthe / saxophone, flute
Klaus Nagel / guitar, woodwind, percussion, flute
Hans Lingenfelder / guitar

A great combo from Mannheim, Germany, also known as JOY AND THE HITKIDS. They were mixing jazz-rock, krautrock, funk, soul, pop and psychedelic rock, with Hans W. Herkenne (drums, percussion), Albin Metz (trumpet, bass), Roland Heck (organ, piano, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals), Dieter Kindl (bass, guitar, percussion), Gerd Köthe (saxophone, flute), Klaus Nagel (guitar, woodwind, percussion, flute) and Hans Lingenfelder (guitar).

Led by extraordinary vocal skills of female singer Joy Fleming, the band released their debut 'Overground'in 1970 (released under the name 'Turbulence' in UK and 'Joy Unlimited' in the US). Their second album, 'Schmetterlinge' (which means 'Butterflies' in German) along with the debut is the most representative band's material, and certainly worth checking.

This 1970 album by the German group Joy Unlimited was, to the eternal confusion of discographers, issued under three separate titles. In Germany, it was called Overground, in the UK, Turbulence and in the US, simply Joy Unlimited. Although the band would later go in a more progressive direction, this LP was not all that progressive in nature, and not at all like the avantart rock of the 1970s Krautrock movement.
Instead, it was a competent amalgam of trends in American and British mainstream rock, pop, and soul, rather like the kind flashed by numerous bands emerging in neighboring Holland at the same time, like Shocking Blue.
Joy Unlimited sang entirely in English and were fronted by a woman singer Joy Fleming, as well as an array of guitar and organ textures and breaks and samples galore.

Ikarus - 1971 - Ikarus


01. Eclipse: (15:24)
  a) Skyscrapers
  b) Sooner or later
02. Mesentery (6:11)
03. The raven (including "Theme for James Marshall") (11:43)
04. Early bell's voice (7:43)

- Lorenz Köhler / lead vocals
- Wolfgang Kracht / bass, back vocals
- Jochen Petersen / acoustic & electric guitars, alto & tenor saxes, flute, clarinet, back vocals
- Bernd Schroder / drums, percussion
- Manfred Schulz / guitar, lead vocals (4), back vocals
- Wulf-Dieter Struntz / organ, piano

You wanna hear the true sounds of the seventies? Get this album! Oh yes, this album is a perfect example of how the 70s music sounds like. Musically, you might refer this band to something like Colosseum, Mountain, Steve Marriott, Mahogany Rush, Eloy or even King Crimson. The opening track "Eclipse" (15:25) is so captivating and it brings you back to the glory days of the 70s! I'm sure if you were really there in the seventies, you would definitely say that this band is representative of that era. My memory brings me back even to Canadian band Moxy where the music is also similar to this one. The most interesting part of this track is its walking bass guitar sounds that circumvent the whole musical stream of this song. So stunning bass playing and it's quite dominant! Of course there are lots of mellotron sounds augmented with acoustic guitar fills. The organ solo in the middle of the track at approx 7:40 is also very nice and it's so 70s! I love this track wholeheartedly man! It's so cool, so powerful!

"Mesentery" brings the music into rough style in relatively fast tempo with percussion, bass, guitar, organ and vocal line. The intrusion of flute that follows after first vocal verse is truly brilliant. The flute style is like Ian Anderson but the music is like a classic rock music. It's really a nice composition. Bass guitar still gives its inventive contribution to the song.

"The Raven" opening seems like early King Crimson music. It's relatively complex opening with some jazzy touch and excellent rhythm section, using soprano sax as solo. After immediate break at approx minute 2:30 the music continues into avant-garde exploration with powerful flute work. It's really a treat for those who love classic rock with flute sounds. When the vocal enters the music turns into a bit of blues influenced style with excellent organ work.

The concluding track "Early Bell's Voice" is a mellow track with soaring organ work and still a dynamic bass guitar work. Piano sound enriches the song, combined with stunning guitar and brass section. Hen vocal enters the music in the middle of the track, it reminds me to the music of Colosseum.

Overall, this is a real gem of the seventies that most of you like the classic rock / prog music would love it very much. Keep on proggin' ..!

Thrice Mice - 1970 - Thrice Mice

Thrice Mice
Thrice Mice

01. Jo Joe (8:51)
02. Vivaldi (11:34)
03. Torakov (12:54)
04. Fancy Desire (8:00)

bonus tracks on Long Hair CD release 2003
05. Drive Me (2:20)
06. Pig II (10:56)
07. Vivaldi's Revival (7:18)
08. Trying (5:10)
09. New Life (2:20)
10. Dawn (2:57)
11. An Invitation (3:09)

- Wolfgang Buhre / saxophone
- Karl-Heinz Blumenberg / vocals
- Werner von Gosen / guitar
- Wolfram Minnemann / organ
- Arno Bredehöft / drums
- Rainer von Gosen / bass

Early summer 1966, infected with Beatlemania, brothers Rainer and Werner v. Gosen decided to form their own Beat band. Born in Flensburg and raised in Hamburg they attended the Alexander-von-Humboldt grammar school in the suburb of Harburg. Both had previously taken piano lessons. Rainer took up the bass, Werner guitar and schoolmate Arno Bredehöft drums. The trio called themselves THRICE MICE and had ambitions of making it to the top which started well by successfully taking part in many of the "Battle Of The Beat Band" competitions.

In August they beat 6 other bands to win first prize in the Hamburg grammar school Beat-Band-Battle at Hamburg-Alsterdorf School. The newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt used the following headlines to report the event: "Beat Battle Too Loud For Music Teacher" and "Judge Sat Outside". The article from August 24th reported "ear numbing Beat Music, ear numbing applause, 7 Hamburg Beat Bands fought it out in the heat of the moment for the first prize. The Hall was boiling and only one person was left outside - the judge! It was just too loud for the music teacher who should have been a competent jury member, which he in fact was albeit from a distance. He sat on a bench in the gangway in front of the hall and listened from there. After 2 hours of noise the loudness ebbed and he announced the winners - THRICE MICE".
That THRICE MICE didn't even attend the host school and still won was a sign of their talent and ambition. The victory brought them recognition in the already growing Hamburg scene and was followed by the band winning a Beat competition organised by one of Hamburg's largest papers the "Harburger Anzeigen und Nachrichten" (HAN). The event with 24 bands battling it out took place in February 1967 at the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Harburg in front of an audience of 1,200. THRICE MICE won with nearly half all audience votes cast and one of the jury members from the famous Hamburg Star Club profoundly commented: "I thought that THRICE MICE were best". The event was well received and the music critic Willi Hofmann tried a sociological cultural historical explaination: "… I have to say that the press' approach towards Beat Music is to be applauded. As with all people's movements the power comes from the roots, from the undifferentiated and basic state of awareness. The natural phenomenon of Beat is a huge protest against the fraying of modern Jazz Music, against everything old and rotten and against constraint. It works like the trumpets of Jericho and it is a wonder that the venue was not damaged by the noise.

It is a victory for electricity that can easily be enhanced und undermined by voices, it is ancient magic and new technology, similtaneous ecstasy and monotony. Within the stylistic barriers of few chords and rhythms the bands are set apart by personal effort. The relentless hammering and the brightness can be likened to Pop-Art in painting, a protest against all petty-minded mealy-mouthed behaviour. Without mentioning closeness it is the expression of directness and digression, a real sign of the times but in fact ancient. The youths in the hall consumed the noise with deadly earnest faces".

Whether the fans present saw it this way is questionable. In any case Rainer and Werner found flowers outside their house after the concert, left by young girls as a sign of their adoration. This wasn't the only recognition for their hard work. The prize for winning the HAN competition was that the four top placed bands were to appear with a track each on an EP. THRICE MICE decided on a self-penned piece called "An Invitation". The song, whose style could be compared with THE WHO, gave the band the possibility to work their way to the top professionally. The EP, which is now very rare, was lent to us by Rainer v. Gosen and "An Invitation" is included on this CD. The band's local successes continued and the third v. Gosen brother, Jürgen, was brought in as road manager.
The band took a break in 1968 when Rainer had to join the German Army on national service. Arno Bredehöft joined the Beathovens and left the band for the best part of a year. Gerd Adlung took over the drums and Hans-Hermann Jäger came in on organ. When he had completed his duty Rainer returned to the band together with Arno and the original line-up was together again. It was apparent then that the band had reached its musical limits as a trio and was thus complimented by three experienced musicians with fine pedigrees: Karl-Heinz Blumenberg (vocals, alto saxaphone, percussion, flute, guitar) had played Jazz, Skiffle and Folklore, Wolfgang Buhre (tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, clarinette und percussion) played jazz with Chris Barber, Monty Sunshine and Albert Nicholas, the last new member Wolfram Minnemann (organ, piano, guitar), also from a Jazz back-ground, had played Folklore with members of the legendary City Preachers.

This was the line-up that made their eponymous debut released by Philips in 1971. The members varied musical experience exemplified the importance of bringing all these different musical directions and stylistic perceptions together under one roof.

All the groups songs were developed collectively and after they started with the usual beat and pop music they tried some soul and reached the end of the road. By playing cover versions of international hits the band saw that they were impairing their own compositions. A promotion text from their record companies "Rolling News" summed the situation up nicely: "THRICE MICE's music is based on a medium-heavy rock basis that has many variations whereby the jazz influences are prominent. A classical mood is found in parts of their best song "Vivaldi's Revival", part progressive, part blues. "We don't want to rubber stamp ourselves" say THRICE MICE. "There are groups that you recognise by their rhythm which may have its advantages but it would put us into a corner. Each one of us plays at least two instruments and we are open to everything and feel that we can offer more".

The fruits of that can be heard on the THRICE MICE LP comprising four tracks. First "Vivaldi", the band's hit followed by "Jo Joe" the volatile idiosyncratic philosophy of a contemporary man living his life in the present (translator's note: we didn't understand that in German and it is only fair that you don't either!). The third opus is taken from Joachim Ringelnatz Pate's "Fancy Desire", the story of a deer in the park that turns out to be a sculpture. Last is "Torekov" a track with a peculiar story. Some of the band were camping in Sweden and got to know a pretty Finnish girl who, when she was passionate, would say very strange things in english. Her mutterings were worked into the song as the main text and Torekov was where the camp site was.

The album was recorded in November/December 1970 at the famous Windrose Dumont studios in Hamburg. Before this the band had become well known outside Hamburg and were one of the few German bands to appear at the Easter 1970 Pop and Blues Festival in Hamburg's Ernst Merck Hall in front of 10,000 fans. A live recording of Vivaldi's Revival from this gig can be heard on the CD. Even bigger was their presence at the Fehmarn Festival from the 4th to 9th of September 1970 in front of a crowd of 25,000 which also saw Jimi Hendrix's last live perfomance before his death on the 18th September. Alexis Korner introduced them on stage and according to the record company jargon joined them a few minutes later. Two tracks from this gig are also included as bonus track on the CD.
THRICE MICE hoped that their status as semi-professional band would get better after the first album but in 1972 the band called it a day when Rainer v. Gosen moved to Frankfurt am Main due to work committments. The remaining members tried to keep THRICE MICE alive but eventually decided to break up the band. Werner v. Gosen and Karl-Heinz Blumenberg recorded two albums with ALTONA before Werner quit the music business. Blumenberg had later success with Leinemann, Wolfgang Buhre is still an active musician, Wolfgang Minnemann emigrated to Portugal and Arno Bredehöft died far too young.(

Release Music Orchestra - 2004 - Live Bremen 1978

Release Music Orchestra
Live Bremen 1978

01. Beyond the Limit 7:13
02. Up Up by the Riverside 8:52
03. Mainstreet Joker 10:07
04. Madow 8:08
05. Sundance 9:50
06. Sombras 10:30
07. Gettin' Together 4:45
08. Jungle Nights 6:33

Release Music Orchestra - 1979 - News

Release Music Orchestra

01. Catch Up (5:20)
02. Pat Smile (3:38)
03. Oon (5:04)
04. Tai Ming (5:34)
05. Sombras (6:28)
06. Kymerian Ship (8:16)
07. Rubber Stamp Alley (4:11)

Release Music Orchestra - 1978 - Beyond The Limit

Release Music Orchestra
Beyond The Limit

01. Up by the Riverside
02. Madow
03. Gettin' Together
04. Junglenights
05. New Morning
06. Mainstreet Joker
07. Beyond the Limit

Release Music Orchestra - 1976 - Get The Ball

Release Music Orchestra
Get The Ball

01. Mestaloggo
02. Sundance
03. Get the ball
04. Black bird
05. Chambre séparée

By RMO's third album Get The Ball, the group was down to a quartet, having lost bassist Holger Dunkel (replaced by Frank Fisher) and wind player Norbert Jacobsen (not replaced) and recorded this one with Dieter Dierks (as opposed to Plank previously). With a fairly boring artwork and an uninspired title, it is clear that with a reduced line-up, the group would have to try really hard to match their previous efforts and keyboardist Rurup becoming the main composer, where the songwriting was collective.

And they almost succeeded as all three tracks on the A side are excellent cool fusion axed on Manfred Rurup's Fender Rhodes, as it had become the only permanent lead instrument (guest guitarist intervene in two tracks, a guest trumpeter on another). But musically we are not far from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters or Sextant, rather than Nucleus previously. The flipside seems to digress from that pattern slightly due to the opening Blackbird where vocals and trumpet break the monotony, but you shall not be surprised if it sounds Miles-ey. Atlantis (co-written by the huge Carsten Bohn) is built on a descending line that changes a little as well, but the closing Chambre Séparée resembles the first side. On the German side, RMO is closer to the earlier Doldinger's Passport than Thirsty Moon or Kraan.

Release Music Orchestra - 1975 - Garuda

Release Music Orchestra

01. Slapstick
02. Zwischenspiel: holger
03. Torso in sommerwind
04. Zwischenspiel: norbert
05. Rallye dallye
06. Zwischenspiel: zabba
07. Zwischenspiel: manne
08. Garuda
09. Zwischenspiel: margit
10. Mama kubu

RMO's second album is along the same lines of what we heard from their first: a good jazz rock on the borderline between the early 70's JR and the later 70's Fusion music. The quintet (KB, drummer, bassist and wind player plus androgyn frontperson Margit Haberland on vocals, percussions and ac guitar) released on the legendary Brain (green) label in Conny Plank's studios Garuda (with a cool and intriguing artwork), which might appear to be if not conceptual at least thematic.

As all tracks are linked by short (never above one minute length) interludes of Swiss Games separating the main compositions: the five Zwischenspiel pieces, each penned by a member of the group), but even then I don't think there is much of a message to catch. It seems that the group's message was mostly the good times, abundant and precise interplays between all members. Right from the opening 10-min Slapstick (which is anything but), you know that you won't be rocking your socks off: while there are some Nucleus elements in the music, the group lack the sheer power of their UK counterparts, while Passport is not far away. The first side's best track is Torso Im Sommerwind, but nothing that enthusiasting either.

The second side starts on the deep and introverted 12-min title track, which shines as the album's highlight, but I have trouble getting interested in the unfocused and slightly ethnic Mama Kubu, sounding like a cheap but more psych Osibisa crossing Doldinger's Passport.

Release Music Orchestra - 1974 - Life

Release Music Orchestra

01. Eröffnung - Tippa Tibana (4:10)
02. Revue In Blau (7:35)
03. Damaskus (5:50)
04. Rot Wild (6:00)
05. Der Traum Des Herrn P. (8:30)
06. Zemäs Rutan (6:30)
07. Morgengabe (4:25)

Bass, Vocals – Bernd
Clarinet, Piano – Norbert
Drums – Zabba
Keyboards, Vocals, Liner Notes – Manne

RELEASE MUSIC ORCHESTRA are from Germany and they rose from the ashes of TOMORROW'S GIFT. In fact the trio that was on TOMORROW'S GIFT second and final album called "Goodbye Future" are all part of this along with clarinet player Norbert jacobsen who had played clarinet on A.R. & MACHINES' "Echo" album. Now i would describe "Goodbye Future" as a Krautrock album with a jazzy flavour while here on "Life" we get pretty much a straight up Jazz Rock affair. Oh I forgot to mention that Tommy Goldschmidt formerly from IKARUS played percussion with this band as well.

"Eroffnung-Tippa Tibana" opens with the band being introduced in a live setting followed by mellow music. A fuller sound before 2 minutes and we get some excellent drum work here as the clarinet plays over the top. There's a CAMEL vibe here. It settles late to end it. "Revue In Blau" starts to build early with the drums and clarinet leading. It settles back 3 minutes in then kicks back in before 4 1/2 minutes. It settles again 5 1/2 minutes in as that nice groove retruns. "Damaskus" is a top two for me. A catchy rhythm to start with the clarinet playing over top along with electric piano sounds oh so good. The drumming here is great as they seem to jam away. Some distorted organ before 4 1/2 minutes. Nice.

"Rot Wild" opens with atmosphere along with electric piano. It becomes psychedelic sounding as it echoes. It kicks in before 4 minutes with drums and more. "Der Traum Des Herrn P." has these repetitive drum patterns as the keyboards help out. Distorted organ joins in. A fuller sound before 3 1/2 minutes and the drumming as usual is so impressive. Dissonant horn before 4 minutes and vocal melodies after 6 minutes. "Zemas Rutan" is my other top two. This has some laid back guitar and floating organ. It's so different from the rest and I love it. "Morgengabe" has some energy as we get more of that fantastic drumming along with electric piano, bass and horns standing out.

Tomorrow's Gift - 1972 - Goodbye Future

Tomorrow's Gift
Goodbye Future

01. Jazzi Jazzi
02. Der Geier Fliegt Vorbei
03. Allerheiligen
04. Wienersatz
05. Naturgemäss
06. Didden Für Dunden

Bonus Tracks
07. Sound Of Which
08. Indian Rope Man

- Bernd Kiefer / bass
- Manfred Rurup / keyboards
- Gerd Paetzke / drums

This is TOMORROW'S GIFT's second and final album released in 1973. It apparently sounds nothing like the debut which had a Folk vibe to it with female vocals. The band completely broke up after that one. The bass player and keyboardist decided to keep it going by adding a drummer and carrying on as a trio. This album is one of those releases I felt I took a gamble on and hit the jackpot. This is pure Krautrock my friends and I love it ! Sure it has a Jazz flavour and some Zappa-like humour, but this one album of their's is Krautrock all the way. In the liner notes this record is described as being "... a varied album : Canterbury influenced Jazz-Rock with improvised Free Jazz parts". Great sound as well with Conny Plank doing the engineering and production.
"Jazzi Jazzi" opens with keys as a beat comes in with silliness going on all around it. "Der Geier Fliegt Vorbei" opens with keys and bass as flute-like sounds comes in. It's building as drums come in. Check out the fuzzed out bass ! Amazing sound here. A change after 3 minutes as the tempo slows and it becomes experimental. It sounds better after 4 minutes as it becomes darker and more solemn. Great sound the rest of the way. Fantastic ! "Allerheiligen" opens with deep bass sounds and synths with drums. Some fuzz a minute in (and later) as drums pound away. It settles after 2 1/2 minutes with intricate sounds.

"Wienersatz" is just over 2 minutes of pure psychedelia. People are talking as drums and bass sounds come and go. Synths come in as silly vocal melodies arrive. Haha. "Naturgemass" is the almost 17 minute epic. This also is very psychedelic to start out as sounds come and go with no real melody. Drums and bass start to make some sense as dissonant piano comes and goes after 8 minutes. It settles and then starts to slowly build with synths and a trippy beat. You can hear water and nature sounds in the background. The last minute of the song is powerful and dissonant with some fuzz. "Didden Fur Dunden" is very strange and psychedelic. This song is one freaked out trip man. For some reason I see a connection between the fried egg on the album cover and this song. Haha.

A must for Krautrock fans

Tomorrow's Gift - 1970 - Tomorrow's Gift

Tomorrow's Gift
Tomorrow's Gift

101. Riddle in a swamp
102. Prayin' to Satan
103. One of the narrow-minded thoughts
104. Tenakel Gnag
105. The first seasons after the destruction

201. How you want to live
202. Gray aurora
203. Ants
204. Breads there a man
205. King in a nook
206. Sandy concert
207. Enough to write a song about or two
208. Second song

- Carlo Karges / guitars, percussion
- Bernd Kiefer / bass
- Ellen Meyer / lead vocals
- Gerd Paetzke / drums
- Manfred Rürup / keyboards
- Wolfgang Trescher / flute
+ Jochen Petersen / Alto saxophone (11)

Tomorrow's Gift (along with similar bands, Frumpy and Joy Unlimited) originally formed as a blues and soul-rock band evolving by the end of the '60s into progressive rock, but still remind faithful to their roots. The line up consisted of Ellen Meyer (Vocals) Carlo Karges (guitar, percussion), Manfred Rurup (organ), Wolfgang Trescher (flute), Bernd Kiefer (bass) and Olaf Casalich (drums). Casalich was later replaced by Gerd Paetzke. In 1970 the young band (three members were still teenagers) set out to release their debt double vinyl. As expected the production yielded a rough unpolished edge giving the album the typical vintage progressive sound. The album Features an abundance of guitars, organ, flute and drum solos accompanied by Meyer's vocals which have been likened to Janis Joplin. Most believe this album would have proved stronger if edited onto just a single disc!

After their self titled effort the band had split in 1971. It was now down to Manfred Rurup and Bernd Kiefer the keep the flame lit. Recruiting "Zabba" Linder (drums) the band pushed forward as a three piece, going on to release 'Goodbye Future' (1972). The sound of the band had totally changed, with a more technical edge and much improved sound production. They took a more Jazz mind into the studio resulting in a mainly instrumental Jazz-rock album, focusing on the keen interplay between keyboard and bass. The overall sound was quite varied: incorporating the lighter Canterbury-jazz sound with an almost Zappa-esque humour.

This was to be the last record under the name Tomorrow's Gift. In 1973, guitarist Uli Trepte (previously of Guru Guru) joined, only to quit just half a year later and was replaced promptly by sax and clarinet player Norbert Jacobsen. The band now changed their name to Release Music Orchestra under which name they released five records.

 Fantastic Kraut-Prog band from Hamburg with an original and groundbreaking sound few acts were producing in ealy-70's.The initial steps found Tomorrow's Gift covering tracks from tne famous British/American Rock bands of late-60's and material from the late-69'/70' can be heard in the ''Pop & Blues Festival 1970'' and ''Love And Peace'' compilations, but at the same time the band was preparing for its debut, writing and recording original songs.Tomorrow's Gift's self-titled double-LP debut was the first album to be released on the short-lived yet legendary Plus label in 1970 with a 6-piece line-up of Ellen Meier (vocals), Wolfgang Trescher (flute), Carlo Karges (guitars, percussion), Bernd Kiefer (bass), Gerd Paetzke (drums), Manfred Rürup (keyboards).
These talented Germans sound like a band struggling to stay calm with the ordinary Psych/Blues/Hard Rock style, which was pretty popular in 1970, and simultaneously trying to push the limits of Rock music to a next level.The album yet contains the basic elements of Hard/Blues Rock, characterized by the powerful grooves, the mindblowing guitar solos, the tremendous energy of the rhythm section, the dominant Hammond organ parts and the sharp riffs, while next to these you get a singer who sounds a lot like JANIS JOPLIN.But things are actually way more complicated.Along with the basic rockin' passages you will get series of driving flutes with both Kraut and symphonic leanings, Classical-inpired keyboard textures (even some lovely clavinet appears in one track), massive sudden breaks, elaborate and refined interplays and impressive changing tempos.The daring face of the group does not stop here.The longer tracks even contain the fundamental color of early German Kraut Rock: long, powerful and pounding jams, based on furious, psychedelic grooves with guitars and organ in the forefront and yet another solid performance by the tireless rhythm section.

Among the best ever Kraut Rock debuts.A fascinating mix of Psychedelic, Hard, Symphonic and early-70's Progressive Rock, that is sure to satisfy even the most demanding proghead out there.An instant and highly recommended purchase.

Various Artists - 1970 - Pop & Blues Festival '70

Various Artists
Pop & Blues Festival '70

01. Frumpy     Duty    7:35
02. Thrice Mice     Vivaldi's Revival    7:12
03. Beatique Corporation     Going Straight    3:41
04. Tomorrow's Gift     Sound Of Which    19:58
05. Frumpy     Floating    12:14
06. Beatique Corporation     Things We Said    5:21
07. Sphinx Tush     Crashville    4:40
08. Beatique Corporation     Sunwave    15:15

The Pop & Blues Festival in Hamburg '70 was one of the first big German  Rock festivals  and presented  mainly the Jazz and Blues oriented Prog bands. (the term Pop must be seen here historically) On this record there are tracks from Frumpy, Tomorrow's Gift, Sphinx Tush, Thrice Mice and some jam sessions by members from these bands. The CD release is by a small Australian label, but I don't know if this record has been released oficcially on LP or CD before. The sound quality  is good (probably a soundboard recording). The most interesting tracks IMO are the 2 Frumpy tracks, followed by the Thrice Mice track and the jam sessions. The long Tomorrow's gift track ( a 20 minutescover version of Donovan's "Season of The witch") is slighly boring and chaotic and precedes the release of their fisrt record. Historically the most rare track is theSphinx Tush track , because the trio never released a record during it's existence. BTW Zabba Lindner the Sphinx Tush drummer joined  later Tomorrow's Gift.
All in all a highly  interesting document.
A sextet from Hamburg, playing the patented, distinctive German type of progressive jazz-rock typified by underground legends like Xhol or Out Of Focus (2nd & 3rd album). The leading soloist in Thrice Mice was Wolfgang Buhre. He often tried to copy the wah-wah sax style of Ian Underwood of Mothers Of Invention. Their album was recorded during November and December 1970 in Hamburg and released on Phillips in 1971. After a couple of years, the group resurfaced as Altona and made two further albums for RCA in 1974 and 1975.

The Krautrock scene may be best known for creating some of the weirdest abd revolutionary rock music, yet there was another side to the scebe, of progressive that rivalled the best in Britain, of which Frumpy were at the forefront, followed by the like of Jane, Eloy, Novalis, Message, et al. This band played their own brand of progressive rock that was mainly influenced by blues, soul and hard rcok with some minor classical elements. Their female vocalist Inga Rumpf had a quite weird voice, sounding more like a man than a woman. However, the main musician in the band was their French organ-player Jean-Jacques Kravetz who delivered some solos that nearly were on par with the best progressive rock keyboardist.
Frumpy later transmuted into the more commercial Atlantis.

1969 the famous trio "Sphinx Tush" was founded with Zabba Lindner on drums and Andreas Smietana on bass. Their music was something like early punkmusic, long before punk was getting popular. They used to play in the biggest hall of the town (Ernst-Merck-Halle), where groups like the "Rolling Stones" used to play. They have played at the last evening of the well known Star-Club in St. Pauli (thats where the Beatles started) and they've done many live-perfomances at the radiostation NDR.

Like Frumpy and Joy Unlimited, they were a blues and soul-rock band who turned on, tuned in and dropped out to the progressive music at the end of the sixties. Both mentioned bands had female vocalists, as had Tomorrow's Gift: Ellen Meyer. Arguably she didn't have a voice as strong as Inga Rumpf, but hers was good enough to serve the music. Tomorrow's Gift was really a band of future talents, three of the members being still teenagers. Original guitarist Carlo Karges later worked with groups as different as Novalis, Extrabreit and Nena. He also guested on the Release Music Orchestra album 'Get The Ball' (1976). Manfred Rurup later recorded with Carsten Bohn's Bandstand, Elephant and Inga Rumpf.

Shaa Khan - 1979 - Anything Wrong

Shaa Khan
Anything Wrong

01. Anything Wrong? (4:28)
02. Agonie (7:09)
03. Howy The Professional (6:35)
04. Another Flight (5:42)
05. Tales Of Schroeder (7:39)
06. Once Upon A Time (6:18)

- Klaus Grant / percussion, vocals
- Jochen Gutermuth / bass
- Walter Kaulhausen / drums
- Horst Schlechtriemen / keyboards
- Roland Soltysiak / guitar
- Heiner Waldmann / guitar, vocals

This album is a bit of a let-down from the first one, but it's still not bad. I think a lot of the prog fans don't like it as much simply because the band was obviously moving in a more mainstream, but still proggy AOR direction. I personally like AOR/pomp, so this album has it's merits to me. I do have to admit that some of the English lyrics are rather bad though. Contains some very nice organ and guitar workouts.

Shaa Khan - 1977 - The World Will End On Friday

Shaa Khan
The World Will End On Friday

01. White Room (8:22)
02. World Will End On Friday (4:47)
03. Graveyard (7:53)
04. Ocean (7:42)
05. Seasons (9:16)

- Roland Soltysiak / guitar
- Jochen Gutermuth / bass
- Horst Schlechtriemen / keyboards, backing vocals
- Walter Kaulhausen / drums, backing vocals
- Heiner Waldmann / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Klaus Grandt / vocals, percussion

SHAA KHAN are a german heavy prog rock band which produced two LPs and two singles. Drummer Walter Kaulhausen and guitarist Roland Soltysiak started at the beginning of 1970 to play hard rock songs from Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The band name has no common sense - just a pun which pleased the musicians. After some line-up changes Jochen Gutermut (bass) became a permanent member. Because they were participating at courses of the Akademie Remscheid their style changed to a jazz rock direction more and more. During the years 1973/74 they played gigs as the supporting act for Earth & Fire, Sweet, Smokie, UFO und Nektar.

To reach for a better endurance in 1974 Heiner Waldmann (vocals, guitar), Horst "Schröder" Schlechtriemen (keyboards) and Klaus Grandt (vocals, percussion) joined in and they rounded up the line-up to prepare for the first studio recordings. SHAA KHAN developed a rock concept based on two vocalists with self composed songs and simultaneously they made gigs in the neighbourhood of Duisburg to check out the feedback.

1976 the order to compose theater stage music followed and they gave lessons to talented musicians. The fee was intended for the first LP production. In summer 1977 the band entered the Dierks Studio and produced 'The World Will End On Friday' which was released 1978 by the german label Sky Records. The same year SHAA KHAN won a rock festival contest where 40 bands from germany took part. In may 1979 the second LP 'Anything Wrong?' was finished. An effort which is more diversified and balanced. The band could evolve the concept - german heavy rock with english lyrics influenced by Genesis and Yes.

At the beginning of the 80s the band managed to produce two new singles for the Bellaphone label. 'Someone's Calling/Running' got relatively famous with 12 weeks in the WDR radio charts and brought them a lot of gigs in clubs and on festivals. The second single 'Radio/Rock Mafia' had less success. With the arising 'Neue Deutsche Welle' SHAA KHAN got less important and under the alias SK2 they produced some songs with german titles which finally no company wanted to release. But the band went on - with a tour in Lithuania as one highlight. SHAA KHAN could be seen on the stage for the last time in the year 1993 during a concert together with Bröselmaschine and Sheevon in Duisburg.

This is a mysterious, enigmatic and highly achieved progressive rock album from Germany Underground. Due to the omnipresence of a lyrical sense of the melody, we can not consider Shaa Khan as a krautrock band, nevertheless this is an efficient evocative musical adventure throw higher "cosmic" spheres. Their style is an original intrication between the musically expressive / fantaisist dreamworld of Genesis, the spacey-rockin waves of Pink Floyd and Eloy connected to explosive, furiously trippy & heavy guitar leads. With obvious influences taken from progressive rock classics, this band successed to describe their own musical world, really original and powerfuly emotional, passionate with a large range of atmospheres and moods, describing different states of human sensibility, from pain, fear and anger to love and spiritual illumination. Beyond the "kosmische" rock, this album is a top class standard of progressive rock, reaching the pinnacle of this specific musical universe. White room opens this ravishing musical trip with a cosmic- like symphony for gorgeous instrumental sections, tragical & theatrical lyrics and majestic heavy-rockin' melodies (closed to things written by the germans of Dschinn). The self title track is an other imaginative travel exploring human subconsciousness and the multi-facets of his personality thanks to a great dose of mysterious, fragile, moody, epic, atmospheric ambiences for synth / e-guitar duo and beautifully immersive lyrics. Graveyard is a subliminal evocative, tormented introspective proggy-piece that reminds me Jane or Novalis at their darkest moments. The melodies are deeply expressive, pefectly composed for intense organ chords, impressively emotional, crying vocals, heavy & floating guitar leads. Almost lost in time, this album remains an ulimate masterpiece and highly recommended for all prog-heads.