Friday, January 22, 2016

Andromeda - 1969 - Andromeda


101. Too Old 4:58
102. The Day of the Change 5:02
103. Now the Sun Shines 4:00
104. Turns to Dust (3 Parts) 6:49
  1. Discovery
  2. Sanctuary
  3. Determination
105. Return to Sanity (3 Parts) 8:20
  1. Breakdown
  2. Hope
  3. Conclusion
106. The Reason 3:32
107. I Can Stop the Song 2:10
108. When to Stop (3 Parts) 8:32
  1. The Traveller
  2. Turning Point
  3. Journey's End
109. Go Your Way 3:03
110. Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying 3:46
111. The Garden of Happiness 3:11
112. Return to Exodus 2:26
113. Journey's End (Reprise) 3:03
114. Let's All Watch the Sky Fall Down 4:03
115. Darkness of Her Room 5:10
116. See Into the Stars 7:14

201. The Day of the Change [Top Gear Radio Session: 1968] 4:33
202. The Reason [Top Gear Radio Session: 1968] 3:47
203. Return to Sanity [Top Gear Radio Session: 1968] 4:29
204. Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying [Top Gear Radio Session: 1968] 5:53
205. Search On [Top Gear Radio Session: 1968] 3:06
206. Ode to the Sea 4:08
207. Lonely Street's 4:15
208. Sleep Like a Child 3:27
209. I Was Left Behind 3:37
210. I Just Wanna Live My Life 2:25
211. The Lodger 2:20
212. Dreamland 3:17
213. Round House Blues (Live) 8:58
214. Walking On (Live) 3:26
215. I'm Searching (Live) 2:14
216. Acidus (Live) 10:19
217. All in You 3:28
218. Step This Way 4:03

- John Du Cann / guitar, vocals
- Mick Hawksworth / bass guitar, vocals
- Ian McLane / drums

ANDROMEDA was a blend of psychedelic, progressive, jazz and hard rock power trio which lasted only enough to release one album. They were formed back in '68, by John Du Cann, later of ATOMIC ROOSTER, after the break of his previous band, THE ATTACK.

Du Cann (guitar), along with Mick Hawksworth (bass) and Jack Collins (drums), recorded a psychedelic rock project named THE FIVE DAY WEEK STRAW PEOPLE, being a concept album much praised by collectors nowadays. After recording this project, the three decided to form a band, who was called ANDROMEDA. The band started to gig, record demos, live material, etc, but without and recording contract.

In '69, they were helped by John Peel, after recording sessions in Top Gear programme. It was arranged for them to record a single, by RCA, in Peel's label Dandelion; later they signed a contract to record an album, self titled. The band had some disagreements with Peel by the time Collins left, being substituted by Ian McLane, and they broke the contract. Though the band toured with BLACK SABBATH, recorded several live radio performances and even Pete Townshend from THE WHO showed his interest to produce their album, nothing turned out as expected, but they could hold a contract with RCA, were they released their only, self- titled album in '69. The album was acclaimed by critics, but had no great success among the public, so they never released another material again. Du Cann left in late 69' going to form Atomic Rooster, along with Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer from ARTHUR BROWN BAND. The other members tried to continue with new guitarists, but the band soon split.

Their work was forgotten during the years, and only in the 90's ANDROMEDA had its material released, including extras, live material, BBC sessions, and re-releases of the first album. All their material can be found in a collection released under the name 'The Definitive Collection'. Their eponymous album was re-released remastered with bonus tracks; there are many variations of it and other albums comprising some of the material of 'The Definitive Collection'.
Andromeda (1969) comes absolutelly soaked in Blues Rock, Proto Prog and Psychedelia and is, in many ways, the precursor of some bands.

Andromeda is completely Proto Prog in songs like the amazing opener 'Too Old', 'Turns To Dust', 'Return To Sanity' and 'When To Stop'.
In other hand tracks like 'Day Of The Change' and 'Return To Sanity' sounds as Black Sabbath. But remember that Black Sabbath only released their first album in 1970.
I could say that Tony Iommi was very aware of this band/album while Black Sabbath was writting their first album.

Andromeda (1969) also comes with high psychedelic colors of course (just look at the cover) in tracks like 'And Now The Sun Shines', the Cream influenced 'The Reason' and the folk driven 'I Can Stop The Sun'.

What we have in Andromeda (1969) is a beautiful and raw (recorded in less than a month) Proto Prog album with Blues Rock and Psychedelic colors. Everything packed with an amazing bass playing by Mick Hawksworth (that also played with Fuzzy Duck), solid drums by Ian McLane and loads of great guitars by John Cann and good vocals.

This two CD collection was put together and remastered by the late John Du Cann. CD1 comprises mostly recordings of Andromeda Mk II with Ian McLane on drums, while CD 2 features mostly earlier recordings with Jack Collins wielding the sticks. The style of music is progressive hard rock. Some of it sounds a little dated but much of it was really quite progressive for the time. The first eight tracks of CD 1 are from Andromeda's one and only studio album released during the lifetime of the band. It's an essential slice of heavy, progressive hard rock for anyone seriously interested in 60s rock. Also on this disc are the single "Go Your Way" and a number of demos. One of the highlights is "Return to Exodus", which the band used to close their concerts.

CD 2 opens with five tracks from sessions recorded in 1968 for John Peel's radio program "Top Gear". The recording quality is great, which can't be said for most of the other tracks that follow. Du Cann explains in the sleeve notes that the Peel Sessions were recorded with Jack Collins on drums. He was sacked before the album was recorded and replaced with Ian McLane. Du Cann claims this was because Collins' sound wasn't heavy enough. He sounds plenty heavy in the radio sessions. It's more likely he wasn't adaptable enough for what Du Cann had in mind. "Lonely Streets" is an early version of a song that appeared on a later Atomic Rooster album. Some of the tracks are live recordings from 67/68. The recording quality is poor. The final track is the last one they recorded (in 1970). It sounds quite different mainly because it features keyboard. Was Du Cann looking in another direction?

It's an interesting collection, worth the price just for the original album. The other highlights are "Keep out 'Cos I'm Dying", "Return to Exodus", "See into the Stars" and "The Reason", "Return to Sanity" and "Search On" from the radio sessions. The sleeve notes feature an interview with John Du Cann which is quite informative. There seem to be a couple of errors in the track names in the listings but overall it's a nice package. Interesting to see that Andromeda shared a bill with Black Sabbath early in 1970 ...

1966~69 Anthology" album, so I can compare for overlap. But this release contains the '69 album, their only single, a ton of bonus material, and an entire extra disc devoted to live stuff. It's all great, too; a mix of progressive hard rock, and power trio hard rock (their is a subtle difference). John Du Cann's guitar blisters on one cut after the other. Of the 34 total tracks offered, all but 3 rate at least a B-, and fully one half are worth a B+ or better! Throw in a great big booklet to round out the package, and you know you're getting your money's worth. A true hard rock lover's dream! Incidentally, I own an original LP, and the sound on this CD is comparatively excellent.

Andromeda - 1979 - Andromeda



01. Baby drunk
02. Con le mie lacrime
03. Cammino
04. Eternamente
05. Hot land
06. Lei non c'era
07. Bar della posta

Gianfranco Menti (bass, guitar, vocals)
Eddy Meola (saxophone, flute)
Gianfry Lugano (keyboards)
Gianpiero Morsuti (drums, percussion)

Extremely rare Italian album from this band from Friuli, which comprised of Gianfranco Mentil (guitar, bass, vocals), Eddy Meola (sax, flute), Gianfry Lugano (keyboards) and Gianpiero Morsut (drums, percussion) with Piero Pocecco providing bass duties.A self-titled work (1978, S.R.M.), released by the label of the studio the album was recorded at, ''Andromeda'' consists of two covers in English and eight original compositions, resulting a confusing album with no particular direction, but the rich instrumentation allows the listener to enjoy some decent moments.It's mostly a cross between dated Psychedelic Pop and soft Italian Rock and Prog, based on light organ waves and Meola's sweet work on sax and flute with some nice moves on guitar.The romantic Italian vocals, which are pretty warm, push the album always to a poppier direction, but many of the instrumental parts are quite interesting, despite the lack of interplays, as the music goes rapidly from poppy passages to folky textures and then to Classical interludes.Rather dated for the release year and average as a whole.

Andromeda - 1970 - Andromeda


01. Andromeda (5:25)
02. Cosmos Main Road (4:57)
03. Galaxy Of Beauty, Galaxy Of Nightmares (8:05)
04. A World On A Star (4:40)
05. Space Trip (7:33)
06. Rockets (8:27)
07. Silvery Lady Star (4:39)

- Peter Schild / hammond organ, piano
- Gunter Steinborn / drums
- Gerry Fleming / bass
- Tony Hendrick / guitar

German band ANDROMEDA rose out of obscurity to record a single, eponymous album in 1970 before falling right back into obscurity and splitting up that year. When the band is mentioned, it is sometimes compared to British band ANDROMEDA (who also released their single, eponymous album in 1969), but this has more to do with the fact that both outfits share a name. Musically, German ANDROMEDA leaves behind most of the fuzz of psychedelic rock of the late 60s, and grounds its sound in heavy organ rock layered with jazzy flourishes and a sense of humor that sounds more like the madcap ravings of COLOSSEUM than the steady hand of ATOMIC ROOSTER.

This sound was no doubt influenced by drummer Gunter STEINBORN and keyboardist Peter SCHILD, who composed most of the songs. Rounding them out were Gerry FLEMING on bass and Tony HENDRICK on guitar, who also produced their only record. That album never strays far from the keyboards, but also never manages to stay with a single style, jumping from chugging organ rock to fast piano jazz to classically influenced prog and even some last gasps of psychedelic pop. In the end, ANDROMEDA'S sound is familiar, but never quite like anyone else's, and it is perhaps a pity that they never recorded a second, more refined, record.

 "Andromeda" is one those obscure early-prog bands from the beginning of 70s which managed to record only one album and disappeared forever. However while most of such bands were originated from UK or Italy, "Andromeda" is a German formation, but as they sing in English it's difficult to tell what country are they from without checking their roots first.
Anyway I'm really happy to discover their only, self-titled album 'cause it's much more original that I thought I will be. As usual in early 70', music is dominated by blazing Hammond organ sounds, but there is something specific about those guys music that can't be easily categorized. There are elements of heavy prog, jazz-rock, psychedelic rock and even many classical music-inspired symphonic prog moments.

To make things even more interesting, it's hard to tell who were the real band's members as some websites tell that Andromeda was a duo: Peter Schild on keyboards and Gunter Steinborn on drums, while bass player Gerry Fleming and guitarist Tony Hendrick were only session musicians which supported the band during the recordings. But many other websites list Fleming and Hendrick as proper members of the group. Who knows... Even more interesting fact is that there are no credits about vocalist, so we still have no idea who is singing on Andromeda's eponymous LP (maybe additional singer or maybe not?).

Mysteries aside, let's focus on songs presented on their sole record:

1. "Andromeda" - album kicks off with one the best songs which perfectly mixes organ-based hard rock with 60'-like psychedelic vocals. If you like organ sounds (like me), you will surely fall in love with "Andromeda" from the first sight, however I have to admit that vocals are a bit strange here. Somehow they often seem off-key for me. But don't worry, as the music is mainly driven by furious organ-work of Peter Schild. Many fantastic Hammond soloing (backed by rhythmic piano) of this musician here.

2. "Cosmos Main Road" - surprisingly "Cosmos Main Road" starts with extended Grand piano section. Very beautiful, classical sounding fragment. But in the middle of the track music evolves and goes back to typical rocking approach (with another couple of good organ solos and so-so vocal sections).

3. "Galaxy Of Beauty, Galaxy Of Nightmares" - is probably the weakest song on the album. For the most part it's an up-beat, easy-listening pop-rock composition with happy-sappy piano beat and repetitive lyrics. The only truly redeeming factor are those strange, church style fragments with choir-singing.

4. "A World on a Star" - just like "Cosmos Main Road", this song also starts with symphonic-sounding piano introduction. Later it develops into haunting quasi-ballad with mellow organ layers and melodic piano lines. To some extend it reminds me of Vanilla Fudge's "Season of the Witch". Similarly creepy atmosphere. Great slow-mowing, spacey organ solo here too.

5. "Space Trip" - Andromeda comes back to harder style here. "Space Trip" is at first driven by massive Hammond chops and passionate (however still not always adequate) vocals. Unfortunately soon it evolves into an extended drum solo. Gunter Steinborn is certainly a good musician and he ads some fine, spacey effects to this performance...but it's still only drum solo and drum solos are usually dull and tiresome after 1st minute or so... Thankfully for the last minute of the track organ and vocals come back, but I'm afraid it's too late to save the day.

6. "Rockets" - this one is the longest composition on the album - and along with self-titled song - it's the best one. Just like "A World on a Star", it has some haunting, ominous fragments but "Rockets" also include faster moments with finally better-sounding vocals and as always ever-present Hammond organ riffs and solos. Track finishes with great, frenetic keyboards solo performance of Peter Schild. Raw and wild!

7. "Silvery Lady Star" - the last song dangerously ventures into psych-pop territory. It has a nice classic-tingled piano intro and ballad-style singing at first, but later comes the refrain with it's "Silvery Lady Star!" lyrics, cheesy brass section and clumsy female backing vocals. To entirely bad, but I could image a better ending for this rather satisfying record.

All in all, "Andromeda" presented couple of very good compositions here. Peter Schild surely confirmed that he had rather good knowledge of different styles of organ playing (from jazz, through rock to classical) and he knew where to find competent musicians to back him up (however I have to admit that Tony Hendrick's guitar is largely inaudible). Maybe it isn't a "white crow" which should be immediately chased by all prog-rock fans, but it's definitely a minor classic.

Fans of organ-led rock from the beginning of 70s (like Bram Stoker, Rare Bird, Twogether, Still Life, Murphy Blend, Gli Alluminogeni etc.), will find quite much to enjoy here.

Best tracks: "Andromeda" & "Rockets".

Androméda - 1981 - Androméda 3

Androméda 3

01. Verboten
02. Wir wollen nur das Beste
03. Hey, Alter, aufwachen
04. Paranoice
05. So müde
06. Der Hausbesitzer
07. Herbsttag
08. Los!

- Rainer Lingk (guitar, vocals)
- Alex Hensel (bass, vocals)
- Bernd Jahnke (guitar, vocals)
- Rainer Bergmann (drums, percussion)
- Thomas Lüdemann (keyboards, clarinet)
- Rebecca Wronker (flute, vocals)

The telephone rings: it's the beginning of the first album of this almost unknown german band who also made 'Karliburr' in 1980 and 'Andromeda III' in 1981.
Influenced by Genesis and Jethro Tull and, sometimes by Gentle Giant, ANRDOMÉDA offers a nice progressive, with large and good use of flute and electric guitar, alternated by harp and sax . Some tracks are sung in german, others in english and the record has its own eccentricity and it's nice to ear it because it is not a common clone.
This album contains seven tracks, four on side one, three on side two and the most interesting are: "Stell Dir Vor", "Androméda" - with great flute solos -- "Poading" with excellent sax solos - and "Skin Is Diction" where the most important members of the band KARL-HEINZ ENGELHARDT (Flute, Sax and Harp) and BERND JAHNKE give their best. A very good album

Androméda - 1980 - Karliburr


01. Vorspiel   
02. Der Fluch   
03. Karliburrs Kindheit   
04. Schulzeit   
05. Ratschläge   
06. Bewußtsein Und Liebe   
07. Frust   
08. Nachspiel

Bass Guitar, Vocals – Alexander Hensel
Drums, Percussion – Rainer Bergmann
Flute, Vocals, Photography – Rebecca Wronker
Guitar, Vocals – Bernd Jahnke, Rainer Lingk
Keyboards, Clarinet – Thomas Ludemann

Second album by Andromeda came out in 1980 under the title ''Karliburr'', released on the unknown Resco label.Multi-instrumentalist Karl-Heinz Engelhardt had parted ways with the band and he was replaced by female singer and flutist Rebecca Wronker.

A cigarette, a leather suit and a psychedelic gaze could have been easily a great cover for a Hard Rock album, but Andromeda seemed to go back in time with this release.They sound much more focused now, leaving behind any tendencies towards multi-influenced music and ''Karliburr'' is all about complex Symphonic Rock with some jazzy and folky touches, somewhere between the elaborate arrangements of British Prog groups and the slightly spacey Teutonic bands of the genre.Moreover this change of direction resulted to some beautiful pieces, split between almost theatrical vocals (a concept album maybe?) and very good instrumental interactions between flute, guitar and keyboards.There are plenty of Classical dressings in some organ parts and the style is showered often by a naughty electric piano and the archaic use of flutes.Compatriots METROPOLIS and the 80's underrated legends SIRIUS might be good comparisons, while the combination of slightly excessive vocal parts with the adventurous instrumental material brings to mind also French group LE GONG DU BALAYEUR.The soft guitar touches along with the melodic flute drives and the heavy use of the Moog synthesizer are good enough reasons to label GENESIS as the band's main influence at the time, but the constant display of German texts adds the proper Teutonic flavor in the compositions.Certain tracks are more folky and acoustic with flutes in evidence, while there are even some very intricate moments with a Fusion aura, highlighted by the instrumental exhibitions on guitars and keyboards and the background jazzy vibes.

Maybe the best of all Andromeda albums and definitely one of the most interesting albums of German Prog in 1980.If not, at least this one sounds so misplaced compared to the time of its release, you would swear it was launched sometime between 1972-75.Very good Symphonic Rock with some theatrical touches and a deep instrumental interest.Strongly recommended.

Androméda - 1979 - Androméda



01. Stell dir vor
02. Androméda
03. Poading
04. Skin Is Diction
05. Step It Up
06. Jahrmarkt
07. Jackson

Rainer Lingk (guitar, vocals)
Alex Hensel (bass, vocals)
Bernd Jahnke (guitar, vocals)
Rainer Bergmann (drums, percussion)
Thomas Lüdemann (keyboards, clarinet)
Rebecca Wronker (flute, vocals)

Not to be confused with the Heavy/Psychedelic Rock group of the same name from Köln, this lesser-known Andromeda group came from Berlin and was around since late-70's.It consisted of guitarists Rainer Lingk and Bernd Jahnke, keyboardist Thomas Lüdemann, bassist Alex Hensel, drummer Rainer Bergmann and multi-instrumentalist/singer Karl-Heinz Engelhardt.Their self-titled debut was a private press back in 1979.

Andromeda had quite a versatile sound, clearly influenced by the major Heavy/Kraut Rock bands like ELOY, JANE or even Austrian EELA CRAIG, but definitely with a touch of their own.Their style consisted of short- and mid-length tracks, somewhat split between guitar-driven instrumental sections and the passages led by the performances of Engelhardt on flutes, saxes and harmonica.Vocals are both in English and German, quite decent to say the least.The arrangements are pleasant with no show offs with the band prefering to deliver memorable compositions than complicated material.Inspirations come from a variety of fields: Psychedelic Rock, Symphonic Progressive Rock, Folk and Heavy Prog with some great dual guitar parts in evidence along with worthy flute-led passges, much in the vein of JETHRO TULL in the raw parts or GENESIS in the more delicate ones.On the other hand the offerings are pretty safe in general with little surprises and the lack of some killer musicianship is obvious after plenty of listenings.

Good, well-played but rather secure Progressive/Art-Rock from these Berlin musicians.Andromeda's debut is likely to please all fans of typical German Kraut experiences, who also like some nice melodies thrown in their music.Overall recommended.

Ancient Grease - 1970 - Women And Children First

Ancient Grease 
Women And Children First

01. Freedom Train
02. Don’t Want
03. Odd Song
04. Eagle Song
05. Where The Snow Lies Forever
06. Mother Grease The Cat
07. Time To Die
08. Prelude To A Blind Man
09. Mystic Mountain
10. Woman And Children First

Graham Mortimer (Morty) - vocais
Graham Williams - guitar
Jack Bass - bass
Dick Ferndale - drums
Additional musicians:
Phil Ryan - keyboards
Gary Pickford-Hopkins - vocals

ANCIENT GREASE were a Welsh band who were formed from the ashes of STRAWBERRY DUST in the spring of 1970.

The brainchild of writer John Weathers the band had MORTY on vocals and GRAHAM WILLIAMS on lead guitar, both of whom found fame and fortune as singer and lead guitarist respectively with Welsh rockers RACING CARS later that decade.

Ancient Grease is a clever moniker for a band, although Strawberry Dust were rather baffled to find themselves so named on their 1970 debut album, Women and Children First. Dust's reputation as a rousing live act was already cemented by several years of plying cover songs around the South Wales club circuit, which is where drummer John Weathers came across them. Impressed, he oversaw their demo, which landed Dust a deal at Mercury, then co-wrote, arranged, and co-produced their full-length. And thus begins the Racing Cars story, for Dust/Grease featured both the band's future frontman, Gareth "Morty" Mortimer, and guitarist, Graham Williams. However, this album is very much a child of its time, only hinting at what's to come. It's a heady mixture of pub rock, hard-rocking R&B, blues, psychedelia, and San Francisco prog rock, with nods to the British hard rock scene along the way, Dust/Grease hit just about every musical touchstone of their day. Incidentally, Weathers' Eyes of Blue bandmate, Phil Ryan, provides the fabulous keyboard work on the gorgeous "Where the Snow Lies Forever," the genre-bending "Odd Song," and presumably the rest of the album, although no keyboardist is actually credited. The album's title track captures the excitement they engendered on-stage, "Freedom Train" their propensity to roam around genres, "Mother Grease the Cat" their proggy best, "Prelude to a Blind Man" their pubby predilections and bluesy flair, "Time to Die" their emotive power, and "Mystic Mountain" their pop sensibilities. Even though Women and Children First is a strong set, there are flaws, from the so-so production to the set's lack of cohesion, a reflection of too many songwriters stirring the musical pot. Dust/Grease were ferociously talented musicians, but they were still a covers band struggling to find their own sound. They never got the chance. Mercury failed to publicize Women, and it sank without a trace. The band followed it into oblivion, as the members swiftly departed for new projects. Morty and Williams, of course, reunited later in the decade, and the rest is history.(All Music)

When Welsh-based covers band Strawberry Dust got some gigs supporting The Eyes Of Blue they impressed John Weathers and he approached their then record company boss, Lou Reizner, about signing them. This he did but he changed their name to Ancient Grease. When they entered the studio to record Women And Children First Weathers and other Eyes Of Blue members also helped out. After the album was released in July 1970 the band reverted to its original monicker, Strawberry Dust, and spent a short while in Hamburg. They disintegrated on their return but Mortimer and Williams later lined up in Racing Cars.
Gary Pickford Hopkins was later involved in lots of other projects including Cutting Crew, Drivers, etc.

Anar Band - 1977 - Anar Band

Anar Band
Anar Band

01. Aquaman / Plasticman / Batman / Superman    19:30
02. Fantasma    3:48
03. Sandokan    4:14
04. Mandrake    2:54
05. Tarzan    4:56

Jorge Lima Barreto (keyboards, electronics)
Rui Reininho (guitar, bass)

Composed By – Jorge Lima Barreto
Dedicated to Abel Mendes and Rui Neves.

Anar Band was a project by Jorge Lima Barreto (1949), who had been performing interventions in experimental and jazz music, video art and performance-art since the late sixties; graduated in Art History and doctorate in Musicology and Social Communication Theory, he wrote several books and produced radio shows. Anar Band was a laboratorial group for improvisations, in the aesthetics of the free-jazz and electroacoustics. Produced and recorded in 1976, Anar Band was, on an electroacoustic profile, the first Portuguese record of improvised music, clearly committed as such.Formed by Jorge Lima Barreto (who would be from 1981 onwards one of the halves of Telectu, the other being Vítor Rua) and Rui Reininho (later the lead singer with avant-garde pop group GNR), this is a true trip into the inner realms of the mind, fuelled by jazz rock leanings and electronics – the ARP Odyssey synthesizer also reminds us that from here to prog rock is sometimes a small step. This is a truly original work of art, and the gatefold features extensive sleeve notes.
Absolutely essential improvised electronics LP ,will appeal to all fans of Asmus Tiechens,Conrad Schnitzler and even NWW.

Ananga Ranga - 1980 - Privado

Ananga Ranga

01. Queen's Jail        
02. Kiss You in the Highway        
03. Lots of Miles Away        
04. Madness        
05. Estranha        
06. Privado        
07. Umnidade        
    a) Espaço Branco        
    b) Saudade        
08. Funky Fonky   
09. Libra

Luis Firmino - guitar
Manuel Barreto - keyboards
Vasco Alves - bass
Necas - drums
Manuel Garcia - sax

Portuguese prog rock with some definite jazz tendencies.Interesting and worthwhile addition to any prog fans collection.Very much like "french prog jazz" ZAO meets Italian ARTI MESTIERI, with lots of Sax , Moog and electric violin. Highly professional musicianship and even an oriental (indian) feel to some songs , from which the band's name is a clear source. Very strong is also the late 70's Frank Zappa influence, along with a strong impro funky style reminding me some early Funkadelic works or the 70s Miles Davis explorations in funk music.

Ananga Ranga - 1979 - Regresso às Origens

Ananga Ranga 
Regresso às Origens


01 Rocalhão 3:24
02 Joana 8:05
03 América 4:26
04 Regresso às Origens 2:53
05 De Novo a Velho 3:43
06 Cúria 5:45
07 Bolero 9:11

Luis Firmino - guitar
Manuel Barreto - keyboards
Vasco Alves - bass
Necas - drums
Manuel Garcia - sax

+ Carlos Zingaro (violin)

Obscure Portuguese band, started in 1976 with Luis Firmino on guitars/vocals, Alvaro on bass/vocals, Manuel Barreto on piano/vocals, Necas on drums, Rui Pedroso on keyboards and Pantera on percussion.Initially they played in a Classic Prog vein close to the likes of GENESIS, MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND and CAMEL.By the time they signed a contract Pantera, Alvaro and Pedroso had quit and Vasco Alves handled the bass.They released two commercial singles in 1979 on Metro-Som along with the album ''Regresso as Origens'', featuring also Carlos Zíngaro on violin and Manuel Garcia on saxes.

By late-70's Ananga Ranga had switched into a more Jazz-Rock style and the album has strong hints of THE DIXIE DREGS' and JEAN LUC PONTY's music.The atmosphere is pleasant, the performances quite challenging and the arrangements intricate enough to satisfy the fans of the jazzy side of Progressive Rock moves.Lots of melodic passages and solos led by Garcia's saxes and virtuosic violin plays by Zingaro.Barreto has a very sharp style of playing his keyboards with plenty of synths and electric piano in his armour.What really shines is also the magnificent fiery guitar playing of Luis Firmino, not often appeared throughout the listening, but with a great delivery overall.Of course the tracks have sometimes a commercial edge both on production and style with some Funk moves and light, almost cheesy and easily acceptable Jazz-Rock at moments, quite reasonable for a band performing during late-70's.

Far from being an essential entry, ''Regresso as Origens'' shows an uncommercial band struggling to survive during a commercial era, reflecting the fact on their sound.Still this is well-played, adventuruous and rich Progressive/Jazz-Rock for the major part of the album an, thus warmly recommended.

Ambrose - 1978 - Bust Your Nose

Bust Your Nose

01. Bust Your Nose
02. Angel In Diguise
03. Getting Right
04. Rock And Roll Lady
05. Breakout
06. Please Miss Squeeze
07. Bluesy Day
08. Annabella

Billy Dyer – lead guitar
Pat Vick – lead & rhythm guitar
Tommy Smith – bass guitar, lead vocals
Nathan Smith – drums

Rare but excellent US southern hard rock with loud dual guitars. If you like TED NUGENT, BLACKHORSE, WABASH RESURRECTION, early MOLLY HATCHET and the like, you will dig this album for sure. Original pressing was limited to 1000 copies. Recommended !

The Aggregation - 1968 - Mind Odyssey

The Aggregation 
Mind Odyssey

01. The Lady at the Gate
02. Looking for the Tour Guide
03. The Long Windy Tunnel
04. Flying Free
05. White Light
06. In the Garden
07. Reflections
08. The City of Toys and Games
09. Change
10. Life's Light

*Lewayne Braun - Lead, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Dale Burt - Organ, Piano, Honky-Tonk, Vocal
*Bayard Gregory - Drums, Timpani, Bongos, Tambourine, Vocal
*Richard Jones - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Leo Potts - Flute, Clarinet Soprano, Alto, Baritone Saxophone (Electronically Enhanced By Selmervaritone Conn Multi-Vider And Echoplex), Recorder, Kazoo, Vocals
*Bill Sissoev - Bass, Slide And Valve Trombone, Vocal
*Lemoyne Taylor - Flute, Clarinet, Alto, Tenor Saxophone (Electronically Enhanced by Selmervaritone and Music Maestro), Recorder, Slide Whistle, Vocal

Ever since Hermann Hesse suggested back in 1927 that the cost for one admission is your mind, metaphors of magic theatres, carnivals and fun fairs have been popular among those wanting to illustrate altered states of mind. During the psychedelic 1960s the use of such symbols was so frequent and often so ignorant that the serious concept degenerated into a meaningless prop, much like what happened with incense or prayer beads. But as Hesse showed in "Steppenwolf" it is a powerful image with plenty of artistic possibilities.

One of the more remarkable uses of the "funhouse" as a metaphor for exploration of cerebral frontiers can be found on the 1969 "Mind Odyssey" LP by Los Angeles band the Aggregation. The LP is a somewhat obscure cult item today, and not many listeners are likely to realize how immediate, and ironic, the band's use of the concept is. A 5-piece of college graduates, several of which had degrees in music, the Aggregation were one of a small number of rock bands who played regularly at Disneyland. Hit covers of the day were delivered as a diversion for visiting teenagers, but the band also composed original music to work in conjunction with the rides and expositions on offer at Disneyland's "Tomorrowland".

The details behind the Aggregation signing with LHI and the work on the album can be found in the accompanying website interview, leaving us to concentrate on the resulting music. "Mind Odyssey" is a completely realized concept LP that uses a visit to an amusement park as a metaphor for an inner, ostensibly psychedelicized, journey.

The most remarkable aspect of "Mind Odyssey" is that its' surface is deceptively similar to any number of cheesy concept LPs that appeared in the wake of "Sgt Pepper", yet if you stick around it will open up to reveal layers of elaborate composition and internal logic that surpass all those Beatles imitations, and indeed Sgt Pepper himself. The Charleston/vaudeville track is a telling example -- on the typical post-Pepper album this is a throwaway number made for no other reason than to echo "When I'm 64". When Aggregation does one it makes perfect sense, and even convinces of its need to be there, although it's unlikely to be anyone's favorite track.

Formally trained and mature enough to understand the use of irony and intermusical references, Aggregation uncover a terrific analogy for a psychedelic experience in Disney's "Tomorrowland", and the way they proceed to deliver it makes "Mind Odyssey" one of my favorite albums from 1969. I bet old Herman Hesse would have liked it too.
by Patrick "the Lama" Lundborg

Aesop's Fables - 1969 - In Due Time

Aesop's Fables 
In Due Time

01. Lift Up Your Hearts    3:33
02. What Is Soul    2:33
03. In Due Time    2:57
04. In The Morning    3:42
05. Everyone's Talking    2:21
06. Spoons Full Of Sand    5:02
07. The Sound Of Crying    2:40
08. What Is LOve    3:38
09. Look Out    3:13
10. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me    3:45
11. And When It's Over    5:8

Bass Guitar, Guitar, Vocals – Ronny Alterville
Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Vocals – Robert Di Monda
Guitar, Vocals – Frank Krepala
Organ, Vocals – Barry Taylor
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Joe Fraticelli
Trumpet, Trombone – Louis Montaruli
Vocals, Drums – John Scaduto
Vocals, Percussion – Sonny Bottari

Falling somewhere in the musical spectrum between David Clayton-Thomas and Blood, Sweat and Tears and The Young Rascals,  the short-lived and little known Aesop's Fables deserved a better fate.  Led by singer/songwriter Sonny Bottari, the Long Island-based group was initially signed by ATCO where they released a series of three widely ignored mid-1960s singles.
After four unsuccessful singles ATCO dropped the band, though in a matter of months they rebounded, attracting the attention of the Chess affiliated Cadet Concept label.  Eager to expand its catalog of rock material, Cadet Concept gave the go ahead for an album teaming them with producer/songwriter  Bob (Robert) Gallo for their 1969 label debut "In Due Time".  Sporting two capable vocalists in Sonny Bottari and drummer John Scaduto, the collection aptly demonstrated the octet's enjoyable blend of blue-eyed soul and more experimental horn based outings ('Everybody's Talking' and 'Look Out' and 'In the Morning').  Featuring a mixture of Gallo-penned numbers and band originals, blue-eyed soul moves like 'Lift Up Your Hearts', 'What Is Soul', and The Rascals blue-eyed soul clone 'What Is Love' were quite commercial.  Unfortunately, in the midst of a burgeoning blues and metal scene, the band's easygoing soul moves also seemed slightly out of date; almost like they were a year or two behind popular tastes.  Elsewhere there were a couple of stabs at updating the sound.  Sporting a much harder rock sound 'Spoons Full of Sand' came off as a weird hybrid of  Cream-meets Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Guufy but kind of neat.  Unfortunately the group's lounge lizard cover of the Supremes' 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' was simply a boneheaded move. The album was tapped for a single:

- 1969's  'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' b/w 'They Go Out and Get It' (Cadet Concept catalog number 7005).  

Unfortunately that seems to have been about it as far as promotional supposet went.

The Advancement - 1969 - The Advancement

The Advancement 
The Advancement

01. Juliet.
02. Painful Struggle.
03. Stone Folk.
04. Grass Mass.
05. Sunflower.
06. She.
07. Moorish Mode.
08. Hobo Express.
09. Child At Play.
10. Fall Out.

Colin Bailey / Drums, Percussion
Lynn Blessing / Vibes, Harmonica, Organ
John De Rose / Classical Guitar
Hal Gordon / Conga, Drums, Percussion
A.A. Johnson / Guitar
Lou Kabok / Bass
Richard Thompson / Organ, Harpsichord

After collaborating with Gabor Szabo on such superb efforts as More Sorcery and Dreams, bassist Louis Kabok and drummer Hal Gordon further embraced jazz-rock fusion under the Advancement aegis, issuing their sole LP in 1969. The opening "Juliet" establishes a dark, moody atmosphere immediately bolstered by the intriguing "Painful Struggle," with its eerie vibes and Kabok's extended bass bridge. "Moorish Mode" is Gordon's star turn, highlighted by an impressively restrained drum break. But it's the most overtly rock-influenced cuts that make Advancement worth seeking out, in particular "Fall Out," an impressively heady melange of jazz, hard rock, and psychedelia.
- Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

I heard of this album from that "related videos" bit on Youtube of all places, and great Milt Jackson's ghost am I glad I did. The Advancement's first and only album plays what I love to hear the most in my music, eclectic influences woven together so seamlessly you'd swear they had to be smashed together at CERN. In this case I understand that these musicians were trained in the jazz idiom, however the music also seems to encompass the rich musical trends happening around them at the time: psychedelic sounds, folk influence, and rock music rhythms. These elements are combined to create a stunningly unique and uncannily early form of jazz fusion; more philosophically aligned with the niche appeal of Frank Zappa's Hot Rats than the more strictly jazz-world influenced debuts of Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra (all released in 1969 as well).

Juliet opens a flawless A-side with what I want to call a medieval influenced psychedelic rock tune. As the needle drops you can hear an overall sound and recording style that's reminiscent and true to the times, yet clearly isn't jumping on any trendy bandwagons either. Interestingly enough there is no jazz element at all to this opener, a strange move for seasoned jazz musicians. They make their jazz talents abundantly clear shortly thereafter on Painful Struggle, which slowly lifts off with a bowed upright bass solo before turning into a lengthy modal jazz-rock improvisation where the guitarist and vibraphonist get the chance to explore their imaginations.

Stone folk moves further into this unique fusion territory by bringing the rock style and psychedelic composition to a traditional jazz form. Likely the most well realized track on the album (and the only one with any vocals), its a great and catchy tune with a unique chord progression these guys just soar on. All of their influences come together beautifully here. The rest of the tunes play similarly to these. The trio of Grass Mass, Sunflower, and She drop that jazz influence to explore that rich psychedelic folk-rock sound again like Juliet. Moorish mode echoes the form of Painful Struggle, except this time in a more exotic Phrygian scale.

I feel that the latter half of the B-side dips slightly in this rich creative quality, but it is still fun to listen to. Some harmonica playing here and there that isn't particularly good but has some nice effects on it that add to the sound. Hobo Express is really just there as platform to do some collective improvising over a basic blues form. Child at Play is another nice psychedelic rock tune. The only real disappointment on the album though is Fall Out, which has a nice rock-oriented groove but all-together falls flat as a closer. It sounds incomplete and not as well conceived as the other tracks, like it should be on a collection of out-takes. Usually I just cut the album out on Child at Play and it suddenly works as a whole.

Highly recommended to those like me who appreciate eclecticism and unique charm enough to hear past a couple of more technical flaws. Ultimately I find this a hugely rewarding and irreplaceable listen, even over a year later this is still still getting a lot of plays.

Abraxis - 1977 - Abraxis


01. Clear Hours
02. Valse de la Mort: À Boire / Et à / Manger
03. Sweetank
04. Billy The Keith
05. Jéronimo
06. Bolle Winkel
07. Arhumba

Dirk Bogaert — flute
Paul Elias — guitar
Jean-Paul Musette — bass
Charles Loos — keyboards
Jack Mauer — drums
Tony Malisan — drums (2, 4, 5, 7)

Jazz Rock supergroup from Belgium, including members from the veteran league of Prog and Jazz Rock music.The founding members appear to be keyboardist Charles Loos, who had parted ways with Cos a few years back, flutist Dirk Bogaert and drummer Jack Mauer, who previously played with Waterloo and Pazop, bassist Jean-Paul Musette (ex-Waterloo) and guitarist Paul Elias.Sometime during the recording sessions Esperanto's drummer Tony Malisan had joined the band, but it is unknown if he was a sixth member or simply replaced Mauer, as both appear in the ''Abraxis'' LP, released in early 77' on IBC.Centerpiece of this work is the 20-min. grand Prog/Jazz opus ''Valse de la mort'', which features plenty of Classical, Jazz and Folk influences, passing from sharp guitar solos to piano isolations and from mellow flute themes to extreme jazzy interplays in the vein of Gilgamesh and Hatfield and the North.Lots of synth moves, electric piano and smooth interplays between acoustic guitar, electric guitar and some Camel-esque flute lines.A great jazzy suite with multiple musical colors and impressive instrumental ideas.The rest of the album follows more or less the same vein, it's very Canterbury-styled with a dash of Supersister during the beautiful guitar, keyboard and flute interactions, featuring tempo changes and intense guitar solos by Elias, the Classical influences are reduced to almost zero and the bass lines even flirt with funky vibes, but the music is still very entertaining and top-notch with some neurotic synths next to the piano lines and some confident drumming by the Mauer/Malisan duo.Some parts with acoustic piano in evidence retain the Classical and orchestral attitude of the long suite, but overall the music is along the lines of proggy Jazz Rock, avoiding the traps of improvisation for some well-executed and tight instrumental material.Abraxis were short-lived and Loos later became involved in Nuit câline à la villa mon rêve and Julverne.Mauer found the production studio Shiva and switched to Dance Music, while Bogaert found a place in the Cos line-up over the next years.Very good Belgian Jazz Rock with an omnipresent Canterbury feeling.

Abraham's Children - 1973 - Time

Abraham's Children

01. Gypsy 3:04
02. Hot Love 3:33
03. Goodbye - Farewell 3:08
04. How to Be a Lady 4:38
05. Thank You 2:54
06. Woman O Woman 3:46
07. Children's Song 4:42
08. Workin' for the Man 6:10

Acoustic Guitar – Ron Bartley
Backing Vocals – Bob McPherson
Bass – Jim Bertucci
Drums – Brian Cotterill
Keyboards – Bob McPherson
Lead Guitar – Ron Bartley
Lead Vocals – Brian Cotterill (tracks: A1), Jim Bertucci (tracks: A3-A4,B1-B3), Ron Bartley (tracks: A2,B3)

Having listened to this one a half dozen times, I've got to tell you these guys barely qualify as a rock band, let alone a psych act. Quality pop outfit yeah, but psych? Definitively not ...

Guitarist Ron Bartley, bassist Jimmy Bertucci, drummer Brian Cotterili and keyboard player Bob McPherson got their start in the late 1960s with the Toronto-based Just Us. That outfit subsequently morphed into Captain Midnight's Dirty Feet (great name), but ran into a problem with Captain Midnight's publishers. The threat of legal action was enough to see the quartet opt for another name switch - this time around Abraham's Children.

Signed to the small Toronto-based G.A.S. Records, the band enjoyed a Canadian top-40 hit with their debut 45 'Goodbye-Farewell' b/w 'Hot Love' (G.A.S. catalog number G-1004). Their 1973 follow-up 'Gypsy' b/w 'Fly Me To The Sky' (G.A.S. catalog number G-1005) went top-10, leading G.A.S. to finance an LP.

Unfortunately, by the time the group started recording the album, musical tensions had begun to flare. G.A.S. executes demanded the band continue to work in a commercial pop vein, while the band members were interested in a harder-rock sound. Guess which side won the fight? Produced by band manager Paul Gross (who contributed a couple of tracks to the LP), 1973's "Time" offered up a mix of the earlier singles and new studio material. Boasting three lead singers in Bartley, Bertucci and Contterbill, the entire set was enjoyable, with tracks such as 'Children's Song' and 'How To Be A Lady' showcasing the group's knack for writing and performing commercial pop. Imagine a Canadian version of Pilot, or The Raspberries and you'll get a feel for most of the album. The group also enjoyed a third Canadian hit with the bouncy 'Thank You' b/w 'Workin' for the Man' (G.A.S. catalog number G-1011). It's interesting that the two best songs are also the least commercial. Both 'Woman 'O Woman' and the group-penned 'Workin' for the Man' are thumping rockers, albeit with harmony vocals that make radio stations so happy.

Following the album's release the band underwent an ongoing series of personnel changes that saw Bertucci, Cotterili and McPherson all quit. With replacements the band struggled on for three more years, during which time they shortened their name to 'The Children''. They also released one final non-LP single - 1974's 'Goddess of Nature' b/w '' (Rampage catalog number UAWX-361-W). The group finally called it quits in 1976. Bartley, Dinardo and O'Shea subsequently formed Bang. Bertucci continued to record under the name 'Jimmy B'.

Abel - 1971 - Please World

Please World

01. Lost Control 4:30
02. Searchin for the Light 3:29
03. Being Lonely 3:46
04. Music Maker 5:30
05. Please World 3:39
06. Let Me Be 3:29
07. I'd Still Be With Her 2:55
08. Questions and Answers 2:55
09. Candy 5:00

- Abel Sanchez Guitar, Vocals, Producer
- David Spediacci Saxophone, Vocals Abel Bass, Main Performer
- Charles Bolds Bass
- Tom Catalano Drums
- Larry Chiesa Trumpet, Vocals

Great Funk rock album of Abel Sanchez with great horns and guitar effects including the nice tune "Music Maker". The drummer Tom Catalano had later form his own label :"Tom Cat". You can also find this album on "America" label.

A surprisingly decent record that somehow managed to escape my attention all these years, until user Heratius turned me on to it. Not great, but consistently good soul flavored pop/psych with some horns, sax, and heavy fuzz guitar. After scouring the internet, I have been unable to turn up any background info on these guys, not even where they are from. This seems to be their only release, from '71, and is pretty scarce nowadays.

Really nice soul/Latin rock vibe on this one.  Abel Sanchez is the guitar player on this and he lets loose with some nice fuzz laden solos.  They were from the Bay area like Santana.   Abel fronted Abel and the Prophets.