Friday, July 8, 2016

Rhapsody - 1978 - Rhapsody


01. I've Done All I Can 4:09
02. Been So Long 4:04
03. Crazy Dance 6:35
04. Belly Dancer 6:36
05. Strange Vibrations 4:58
06. The Creepers 8:22
07. Take To The Highway 9:34

Bonus Tracks
08. It's Gotta Be Tonight 3:46
09. Sweet Rock 'N Roll 4:20

Benny Ahlkvist: Vocals
Kjell-Ake Noren: Guitar, Keyboards
Rudolf Janszky: Bass
Peter Ahs: Keyboards
Torbjorn Persson: Drums

Originally released in 1978, Strange Vibrations was the debut album from Rhapsody Sweden, a melodic hard rock band from, well, Sweden. Rhapsody Sweden played a brand of hard rock that was very melodic (which seems to be mandatory for Swedish bands), epic in nature and very, very similar to American AOR icons Angel. It's just a really solid, really enjoyable slice of `70s hard rock with driving guitars, prominent keyboards and strong, steady vocals. The lyrics are a little quirky, owing no doubt to issues with translation.

Strange Vibrations ended up being Rhapsody Sweden's only album, and to the best of my knowledge none of the band members went on to other projects. It's a shame, because the band had a great sound, and one that would have transitioned well into the arena-rocking `80s. If you're a fan of the late `70s hard rock sound, particularly Angel, this album is well worth checking out, especially now that it has been reissued.

Edition Notes: Strange Vibrations was reissued by MTM in 2005 as part of their MTM Classix line. It's the first time the album was released in CD format, features digitally remastered sound and a pair of new studio songs - "It's Gotta Be Tonight" and "Sweet Rock n' Roll" - as bonus tracks. The audio quality isn't on par with the average Rock Candy reissue, but this is still a high quality reissue overall.

Shaggy - 1975 - Lessons For Beginners

Lessons For Beginners

01. Destination Nowhere
02. Vengeance
03. Bitch
04. No Strings
05. Lessons For Beginners
06. On The Road
07. Nobody Cares
08. I Can Feel
09. Brink Of Nowhere

Thomas Engstrom (lead vocals),
Jan Gustavsson (bass, vocals),
Jan "Fidde" Rognas (lead guitar, acoustic guitar),
Kurt Kastner (drums),
Thomas J. Ryan (organ, backing vocals)

Shaggy was formed in Gothenburg in 1973 and the group was heavily influenced by Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Lucifer's Friend. They played an energetic progressive rock as well stand comparison with their role models but also with Swedish Blåkulla, Solid Ground and Rhapsody.

Tom Ryan in the group was from England and Kurt Kästner from Austria, the other was Swedish. The internationally known group Nazareth had heard Shaggy's album and wanted to do a cover of the song Destination Nowhere but the group denied them that, something that they later regretted. Shaggy also supported the band Sweet at Scandinavium 1975 and afterwards Sweet's guitarist (Andy Scott) wanted to produce their second album, something that sadly never happend. When the band broke up Tom moved back to england and Jan Rogås joined Rhapsody.

"Lessons For Beginners" is said to be a top album, but is one of the most difficult hard rock vinyls to find from the 70s. The album was bootlegged (illegally) on CD in 1998, the quality of the CD-reissue are not so good and transfered directly from a crackling vinyl rip. The band still have the original mastertapes and have been talking about an official CD release in the future.

Jamul - 1970 - Jamul


01. Tobacco Road 3:44
02. Long Tall Sally 2:58
03. Sunrise Over Jamul 3:01
04. Movin' To The Country 4:04
05. Hold The Line (For Baby Huey) 2:24
06. Jumpin' Jack Flash 4:51
07. All You Have Left Is Me 2:45
08. Nickel Thimble 2:47
09. I Can't Complain 3:47
10. Ramblin' Man 4:22
11. Valley Thunder 3:54

Ron Armstrong - drums, vocals
John Fergus - bass, vocals
Steve Williams - harp, vocals
Bob Desnoyers - guitar, vocals

The album, though being issued on the small Lizard label, may be not so obscure, but the band surely is. Named after a small town somewhere out in the back country near San Diego, there is almost no information available on this outfit. They are: Steve Williams, Bob Desnoyers, Ron Armstrong and John Fergus. Their music is mostly heavy blues rock with extremely powerful vocals. Best songs are "Tobacco Road" with a strong guitar solo and thundering blues harp, "Ramblin Man" (not the Allman Brothers' song) and the apocalyptic "Valley Thunder". Their cover of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash' is a bit lame, although it has a good progressive Guitar solo. There are 2 or 3 other songs, that seem to be mere fillers. But still - this is better than some of the 100-dollar-records you see for sale. - Originally came with a set of stamps depicting the musicians. seifke
Killer late '60s US heavy hippy rock album issued in 1970 with a down-and-wasted vibe. Great guitar throughout with a superb version of "Tobacco Road", plus loads of originals. The band were involved with Steppenwolf's management and the sound is similar to the early years of that band as well as other heavy acid rock bands such as Yesterday's Children and Frantic. Great album and worth checking out.

So rather than speculating about the band's roots, I stumbled across drummer Ron Armstrong's website which included some material on Jamul.  Here's what he had to say about the group:

"In 1970 I joined a new powerful roots rock band, Jamul, on drums and singing, which was led by San Diego based guitarist/lead singer, Bob Desnoyers. Bob inspired me into writing songs for which I’ll always be grateful. (Bob has since passed away) Sunrise Over Jamul and Movin’ To The Country got some airplay, but Bob’s killer version of John Loudermilk’s Tobacco Road got the most. On bass we had John Fergus, playing a punchy groove style that was easy to lock into.  John also wrote a song I loved, Nickel Thimble.  Later we were fortunate to add a great harmonica player/singer Steve Williams, making our trio now a solid 4-piece unit. We did very well packing the clubs and ended up making an album produced by Richard Podolor with Gabriel Mekler as executive producer. (Same team who produced Steppenwolf & 3 Dog Night) Jamul, title of band and album, was named after a small town East of San Diego. It got national attention reaching # 93 nationally, as listed in Billboard magazine.

I was fortunate to have included 4 songs I wrote for the album.  One of them, Sunrise Over Jamul, was named “newcomer pick of the week” in Cashbox magazine.  Another song included was a funky cover of Little Richard’s; Long Tall Sally. After Richard heard us playing it at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA., he asked for us to back him performing his first music video in Washington DC. This became part of Barry Richards TV Production, DVD now available. Besides Little Richard, backed by Jamul, it featured many top acts like Alice Cooper, Bob Seger System, Humble Pie, Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, The Byrds, etc."

Having played around the San Diego club scene (National City's Club Pleasure), the band apparently caught a break when Gary Puckett (of The Union Gap), caught one of their shows.  The resulting attention led to a contract with Gabriel Mekler's Ampex-affiliated Lizard label.   Produced by Richard Podolor (Melker serving as executive producer), 1970's "Jamul" offered up a mixture of then-popular covers and band originals.   Powered by Steve Williams' powerful, growl of a voice, the band offered up a raw, rough, and occasionally ragged mix of bar band and blues-rock that's always reminded me at least a little bit of Steppenwolf (who were frequently produced by Podolor and Mekler).  That comparison certainly seems apt on tracks like the leadoff single 'Sunrise Over Jamul', 'All You Have Left Is Me' and 'Valley Thunder'.  Was it the most original album you've ever come across ?  Certainly not and according to some of the folks who heard the band live, they studio set comes off flat compared to their live repertoire.  Still, the set has more than a couple of impressive moments including the lysergic-tinged 'Nickel Thimble' and two blues-rockers 'Ramblin' Ma' and 'Valley Thunder'.

Butler - 1973 - Butler


01. Bang Bang – 4:00
02. Suicide Ride – 4:32
03. We’re Getting Nowhere – 2:47
04. In The Morning – 3:06
05. Especially For You – 3:11
06. Green River – 3:32
07. Reach Out – 3:07
08. Tilde Jane – 2:13
09. Mistake – 1:38
10. Southern Magic – 1:49
11. Here We Come – 2:50
12. Mirror Don’t You Weep – 4:29

Steve Apirana — guitar, vocals
Heidi Warren — guitar ,vocals
Angel Adams – bass guitar
Hori Sinnott – drums

Butler were one of few all-Maori rock bands. All four members were originally from Rotorua, but the band actually formed in Christchurch in 1970. Predominantly an underground group, they played their early gigs at the Open Door, before moving into Trevor Spitz's nightspot Aubrey's.

Having built a strong Christchurch following, the band took stabs at other South Island centres, returning to hometown Rotorua in 1971. From there they began building up a North Island following, proving popular on the University circuit with their combination of originals and Led Zeppelin / Wishbone Ash covers.

Some television exposure followed with a spot on 'Happen Inn', 'Popco' and 'Free Ride'. This was fairly rare for an underground group and even with this they never really gained much pulling power.

In 1973 they recorded a self-titled album for Pye. It was released on the Family label and from it came one single, "Green River"/"Especially For You"

Getriebe - 1975 - Syncron


01. Walk Around Yourself 7:58
02. Follow Me 3:48
03. Janis 4:18

Bass Guitar – Reza René Mertens
Drums – Rob Perotti
Guitar – Detlev Schmidtchen
Guitar [2nd] – Olaf Schröter
Organ – Karl Heinz Sieling
Vocals – Claus Jülich

The German band from Hanover (1971-75), the head of which was the future guitarist and keyboardist "Eloy" - Detlev Schmidtchen (born 16 October 1954). Since 1970, he played guitar in a school band. A year later founded the "GETRIEBE" in Hanover (ie. E., "Transmission"), winning in 1975 the festival "Pop 75" in Niedersachsenhalle. The winner received the right to record the EP on a small label and the opportunity to dine with the guests of honor of the festival, from compatriots "Eloy" group. This meeting decided the fate of the team, knocking her out of the cornerstone for ... "eloytsev" is a great acquisition were not only the author's ability to Detlev Schmidtchen, but also his ability to master the two instruments.
Ways of other participants dispersed, not all of them continued their musical career. Drummer Rob Perotti went to the "Lady".