quarta-feira, 25 de maio de 2016

KAREN SOUZA - "Essentials II"

Original released on CD Music Brokers MBB9321
(ARGENTINA, 2014)

By now, it's pretty safe to say that Karen Souza is the great new voice of today's Jazz. After the success of her previous albums "Essentials" and "Hotel Souza", Karen presents now "Essentials II", a carefully selected collection of hit songs from all eras; in exquisite Jazz versions where her unique voice draws us into her intimate and sensual world. This time, the album's production has been helmed by legendary producer and entrepreneur Richard Gottehrer, famous for his work (and guiding the careers) with artists such as Blondie, The Go-Go's, Dr. Feelgood, Richard Hell and The Bongos to name just a few. Recorded at the The Orchard Studios in NYC, "Essentials II" will allow you to hear Karen's voice like never before. Once again she lends her versatile and sultry voice to classics such as Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams". Her amazing version of "Shape of My Heart" would move Sting himself.

THE BEAT OF THE POPS - VOLUME 16

terça-feira, 24 de maio de 2016

TWIGGY 77

Original Released on LP Mercury 9102601
(UK, 1977)



Pois é, para quem não saiba esta top-model dos anos 60 também teve uma curta carreira no mundo da canção. Verdadeiro ícone da moda na swinging London, juntamente com Jean Shrimpton and Celia Hammond, Twiggy (de seu verdadeiro nome Lesley Hornby) nasceu a 19 de Setembro de 1949 e tinha apenas 16 anos quando iniciou a sua carreira com o nome de Justin Villeneuve. Depois de ser considerada “The Face of 66” em Inglaterra chega aos Estados Unidos em Março de 67 e é a partir daí que a sua imagem se espalha pelo mundo, em grande parte também devido a Mary Quant, a “inventora” da mini-saia, que a usa nas suas criações. Nesse mesmo ano grava um primeiro single para a editora Capitol (“When I Think of You / Over and Over”) e em 1968/69 aparece em variadissimas campanhas publicitárias para marcas tão diferentes como a Toyota, a Choco Flates ou a Diet Pepsi Cola.


No início da década de 70 grava um primeiro album com o nome de Twiggy And The Girlfriends (“Twiggy And The Silver Screen Syncopaters”) e inicia uma carreira no cinema sendo distinguida com dois Golden Globe Awards (melhor actriz de musical / comédia e maior revelação feminina) pelo filme de Ken Russell “The Boy Friend” (1971). Em meados dos anos setenta assina um novo contrato de gravação com a editora Mercury, do qual resultam um primeiro album (“Twiggy”) em 1976 (disco de prata em Inglaterra e 33º nas tabelas de venda) e este “Please Get My Name Right” (35º lugar) em 1977, ano do seu casamento com o actor americano Michael Whitney, que viria a falecer 5 anos depois com um atque de coração. Do casamento nasce uma filha, Carly, em 1978. Volta a casar em 1988 com Leigh Lawson, passando a residir em Londres até aos dias de hoje.

STYX - "Man Of Miracles"

Original released on LP Wooden Nickel BWL 1-0638
(US, 1974)

"Man of Miracles" was Styx' fourth and final album on the Chicago-based indie label Wooden Nickel and even though the band had co-produced their previous two efforts - "The Serpent Is Rising" and "Styx II" - former producer John Ryan returned to the fold for this project. His presence may have contributed to the collection's polished feel not only in terms of production value, but the quintet - featuring John Curulewski, Dennis DeYoung, brothers Chuck Panozzo and John Panozzo and James "J.Y." Young - seem to have made concerted strides toward becoming increasingly palatable to the mainstream rock crowd. The pumped up anthemic "Rock & Roll Feeling" is the first of two collaborations between Young and Curulewski. The other, "Havin' a Ball" follows with a further example of their departure out of prog and into comparatively accessible rock & roll. They certainly haven't lost their penchant for diversity however, as DeYoung's haunting and poignant "Golden Lark" provides a brief deviation from his dark "Evil Eyes," or the melodically and texturally rich power ballad "A Song for Suzanne." Styx had not worked many cover tunes on to their studio LPs, making the spirited interpretation of the Knickerbockers' Fab Four soundalike "Lies" a welcome and familiar inclusion.



They pull it off exceptionally well, remaining faithful to the original while unleashing their own performance style. The rough-and-ready "Southern Woman" also delivers the goods in a big way, laying down a briskly paced boogie that conjures the rhythm and soul of Delta R&B. Instrumentally, DeYoung shines once again with alternately sanctified and searing electric organ runs. Fittingly, the title track "Man of Miracles" bears a resemblance to the grandiose and somewhat over-the-top delivery that informed incipient Styx sides such as the "Movement for the Common Man." Increased national attention resulted in the combo simply outgrowing the admittedly limited distribution and promotion that Wooden Nickel could offer. They were more than ready to take their music to the next level and a potentially larger audience. 1975 saw them sign with A&M Records and, although Curulewski stayed for the recording of their next disc "Equinox" (1975), he was permanently replaced by Tommy Shaw before Styx hit the road to support it. Shaw became a missing link of sorts, supplying the aggregate with much of their best and most memorable material during the late '70s and early '80s. (Lindsay Planer in AllMusic)

AL STEWART's LOVE CHRONICLES

Original Released on LP, January 1969
UK: CBS 63460; US: EPIC BN26564

Glasgow-born in 1945, Al Stewart has been an amazingly prolific and successful musician across 40 years and counting (as of 2009), working in a dizzying array of stylistic modes and musical genres — in other words, he's had a real career, and has done it without concerning himself too much about trends and the public taste. He's been influenced by several notables, to be sure, including his fellow Scot (and slightly younger contemporary) Donovan, as well as Ralph McTell, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon — but apart from a passing resemblance to Donovan vocally, he doesn't sound quite like anyone else, and has achieved his greatest success across four decades with songs that are uniquely his and impossible to mistake. This Al Stewart's second album is most renowned for the 18-minute title track, an autobiographical recount of different love affairs with guitar by Jimmy Page. That track was also quite controversial for its day in its use of the word "fucking" at one point in the lyrics, though that's not typical of the tone of the composition. It's actually not the best of the six songs on the record, which saw Stewart wisely discard the orchestration of his debut in favor of fairly straight-ahead folk-rock backing. "Ballad of Mary Foster" is Stewart's best early song, as a two-part suite neatly divided between brusque cynical commentary on a bourgeois English family and the introspective musings of the ravaged wife. That second part bears considerable similarity in melody and tempo, incidentally, to sections of the far more famous Stewart song "Roads to Moscow." The rest of the album has additional solid vignettes in the standard gentle yet detached Stewart mold, the best of them being "Life and Life Only," which exploits his knack for insistent, repetitive minor-keyed hooks. (in AllMusic)


segunda-feira, 23 de maio de 2016

ART GARFUNKEL'S 2ND ALBUM

Original Released on LP, October 1975
UK: CBS 40 86002 - US: Columbia PC 33700



Soft, lush pop for winding down after hours, maybe after a night about town like on the iconic album cover shot of ladies' man Garfunkel. Opens beautifully with Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" and continues smoothly down the line of cover songs with highlights like the wonderful "99 Miles from L.A.", "Waters of March", an angelic rendition of "I Only Have Eyes for You", "Break Away", "Disney Girls", "Rag Doll" and the Simon & Garfunkel reunion "My Little Town". A good choice for when you need some peaceful and pleasant pop tunes. (in RateYourMusic)


The second time around, Art Garfunkel turned to pop producer Richard Perry, who liked to record in studios rather than cathedrals and who replaced the angelic style of the first album with a lush pop approach. The result was Garfunkel's best-selling album. The title track and a cover of "I Only Have Eyes for You" reached the Top 40 (the latter topped the U.K. charts), though the most prominent song was the Simon & Garfunkel reunion single "My Little Town." But the album was full of wise pop choices, among them Bruce Johnston's "Disney Girls," Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)," and Hal David and Albert Hammond's "99 Miles from L.A." Perry proved that, given the right material and production, the problem of the relative sameness of Garfunkel's vocal approach could be overcome. (William Ruhlmann in AllMusic)

domingo, 22 de maio de 2016

RENAISSANCE - "Turn Of The Cards"

Original released on LP BTM 1000
(UK, 1974)


The third album by this incarnation of Renaissance was a match for their previous success, "Ashes Are Burning", with equally impressive performances and songwriting and a few new musical twists added. The songs here fit more easily into a rock vein, and the prior album's folk influences are gone. "Turn of the Cards" rocks a bit harder, albeit always in a progressive rock manner, and Jon Camp's bass and Terence Sullivan's drums are both harder and heavier here, the bass (the group's only amplified instrument) in particular much more forward in the mix. This change works in giving the band a harder sound that leaves room for Jimmy Horowitz's orchestral accompaniments, which are somewhat more prominent than those of Richard Hewson on the prior album, with the horns and strings, in particular, more exposed. Annie Haslam is in excellent voice throughout, and finds ideal accompaniment in Michael Dunford's acoustic guitar and John Tout's piano. The writing team of Dunford and Betty Thatcher also adds some new wrinkles to the group's range - in addition to progressive rock ballads like "I Think of You," they delivered "Black Flame," a great dramatic canvas for Haslam and Tout, in particular; and "Mother Russia" is a surprising (and effective) move into topical songwriting, dealing with the plight of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and other victims of Soviet repression (you had to be there in the 1970s to realize what a burning issue this was). And then there were the soaring, pounding group virtuoso numbers like "Things I Don't Understand," which managed to hold audience interest across nine or ten minutes of running time. (Bruce Eder in AllMusic)

sábado, 21 de maio de 2016

GARYBALDI - "Nuda"

Original released on LP CGD VMLP 114 (stereomono)
(ITÁLIA, July 1972)

I Garybaldi foi um grupo musical genovês dos anos 1970 de gênero Rock e Blues com elementos de Rock Progressivo. O líder do grupo, além de cantor e guitarrista, era Bambi Fossati. A primeira encarnação do Garybaldi se chamava Gleemen (ou I Gleemen). Na época da formação do grupo em 1968, além de Fossati eram constituídos também por Maurizio Cassinelli (bateria e voz), Lio Marchi (teclado) e Angelo Traverso (baixo). Tiveram um discreto sucesso com o seu primeiro single, uma cover da música "Lady Madonna" dos Beatles no lado "A" e uma música original, "Tutto Risplende in Te", no lado "B". Em seguida, deram vida a um intensa atividade concertística parelela ao lançamento do álbum homônimo em 1970. Em 1971, I Gleemen mudam de nome passando a se intitularem I Garybaldi. No primeiro single sob a nova denominação, "Marta Helmuth", pode ler-se: «desde hoje não nos chamamos mais I Gleemen, somos I Garybaldi Ao single "Marta Helmuth / Corri Corri Corri" seguiu-se a publicação do primeiro álbum do grupo, intitulado "Nuda", de clara inspiração hendrixiana mas com evidentes influxos progressivos, em particular, no tema que ocupa todo o lado B, "Moretto da Brescia". A extraordinária capa, em gatefold triplo, foi idealizada por Guido Crepax.


I Garybaldi foi um dos grupos de pico da primeira fase do rock progressivo italiano, na época dos festivais. Tocaram também como banda de abertura de concertos de grupos já conhecidos no exterior como os Bee Gees, Santana, Uriah Heep e Van der Graaf Generator. A fama, porém, chegou também a outros países, sobretudo na Alemanha, Suiça e Japão. Em 1973, Marchi e Traverso abandonaram a banda. Para o baixo entrou Sandro Serra. Com essa nova formação o grupo criou o segundo álbum, "Astrolabio". Como seria a música de Jimi Hendrix se ele fosse italiano? A pesada influência de "Band of Gypsies" na música dos Garybaldi parece ser exactamente isso e esse excelente guitarrista, "Bambi" Fossati dá uma bela resposta. Uma guitarra wha-wha introduz a linha de "Maya Desnuda" (também o nome de uma obra de Goya) e vai na linha de Hendrix como em "Manic Depression". A presença de um solo de hammond enriquece bastante e os solos e riffs de Fossati são incríveis.


Em "Decomposizione, Preludio E Pace" a guitarra é altamente torturada, psicadelismo puro. Alguns momentos são de grande paz como na faixa "Febbraio 1700", onde as mãos de "Bambi" deslizam suavemente pelo braço da guitarra, acariciando o instrumento. "L' Ultima Graziosa", que encerra o lado A, é uma faixa criativa e agitada, bem nos moldes do final dos anos 60. A suíte "Moretto da Brescia" que ocupa todo o lado B, tem um distinto toque italiano com melodias subtis, piano, órgão e guitarras bem trabalhadas que a aproxima um pouco do Progressivo Psicadélico / Sinfónico. (in "A Máquina de Fazer Sonhos")


EC "461 Ocean Boulevard"

Original released on LP RSO 4801 (US) / RSO 2479-118 (UK)
(July 1974)

If there is one artist in the world who has put out more then his share of great songs, and more then his share of amazingly terrible songs, it’s Eric Clapton... who rose from the incendiary ranks of the blues/rock based Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blindfaith, and then Derek and The Dominos... and has probably played with more, and on more artists releases then any single musician of all time. While Eric was touted as a “Guitar God,” he was far from that, yet those musicians who cast a shadow over him today, will always acknowledge the place Eric held in their development. Having just quit heron and living in Florida in 1974, Eric was determined to prove to not only the world, but to himself that he was still on top of his game. Around him he gathered a who’s who of session musicians, who at the time were little know to the public at large... though with this release they would be highly sought after. Some of these greats included Albhy Galuten on organ, synthesize and electric piano, Dick Sims on keyboards, Jamie Oldaker on precessions, Carl Radle on bass, George Terry on guitars, and the amazing Yvonne Elliman shoring up the whole project with vocals.


Out of the ten songs on the original album only three of them are credited to Eric, and on the original release, one of the songs had to be removed, as it was credited to Eric without him having penned the song. Never the less, this is hands down my favorite album by Eric Clapton, as it reflects Eric at his finest... he’s out there on his own for the first time, making it or breaking it on the strength of his own abilities, and he scored perfectly in my opinion. His choice of traditional songs, and those written by others was flawless, reflecting a steady rolling sound, that began slowly, setting the mood with “Motherless Children,” and finishing in blistering fashion with “Mainline Florida.”  While Eric did not invent Reggae, he certainly, more then any other white artist, was responsible for bringing the vib to the forefront of the musical scene with “I Shot the Sheriff,” his first number one single... causing many, including yours truly, to go out and search for the source of this material. Slowhand has had his ups and downs, ins and outs, but when all is said and done... "461 Ocean Boulevard" is such a consistent body of work, one that has not bleached on the beach over time, an album that will remain a true classic for generations to come. (streetmouse)

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - VOLUME 15

sexta-feira, 20 de maio de 2016

DAN HILL: SOUNDS ELECTRONIC 4


Original Released on LP CBS ASF-1199
(SOUTH AFRICA, 1967)

And in the second half of that same year of 1967, the number four of the series was released. To please the moral censors of those times, the beautiful pin-up (one of the sexiest) on the cover was hidden by a suitable gatefold. About the music in it, let's see what was said on the liner notes: «This is Dan Hill's 4th "Sounds Electronic" long-player. It's the best! Because it has more tunes, better sounds. I promise you when you hear the first track you'll move. The rhythm of the first cut "There Is A Mountain" is so compelling you'd have to be a downright music hater to resist jumping up and down (like I did) or even tapping your toes. Dan and Geoff (he's Dan's inseperable sound engineer and buddy) led me into the control room, set me down in front of three speakers and played me a sample cut from this LP. Silence. Then... "Puppet On A String" leaps out of the speakers, glorious saxes ring out the familiar hit-making notes, trumpets take over triumphantly and the Scene scoops me up. I'm on wheels rolling down the road of effervescence. Fun and games after "Puppet" and we go straight into Miss "Tabatha Twitchit" - the beat is out of this world, space travel has nothing on this. Before we know it - "Kaiser Bill" marches in to the shrill of military-whistles. He in turn is succeeded by a bit of Hang-On-Snoopy-type music which introduces "Snoopy Versus The Red Baron"... and Dan leads the band in the shouting. It's spontaneous. Shades of the Turtles as "She'd Rather Be With Me" glides easily onto the tail of "Snoopy" and I'm trying to identify the electronic instrument chatting happily with the cool trumpets. The medley is over.


Dan looks younger suddenly. He's smiling and obviously knocked out himself. Geoff Tucker stands around looking like a proud father. Together they've done it. Together they have utilized South Africa's best musical talent; 4 tape machines (two of them four-tracks jobs); 6 reverberation units; 14 microphones; the most modern recording techniques in Africa; the most modern mixer and studio (Geoff spent 500 brain hours designing and building that alf-transistorized mixer); 40 of the top hits to emerge from the second half of the year 1967; and the ingenuity of the whole recording organisation. This is Dan Hill's latest and greatest "Sounds Electronic". And blended with the extraordinary technical developments to be found on this record is Dan's unique experience of dance bands. He plays regularly for dancers despite his recording commitments and he knows what dancers want and exactly what we like to hear. Success is a small word to use for this album... you have it in front of you now. I'd like you to sample it too. It is great. That's why I am one of Dan's many fans.» (Ronnie Wilson)