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The RockIt Scientist
on 1485 Radio Today
Also on DStv
Audio Channel 70
The RockIt Scientist is a very diverse music programme that features Progressive/ Hard/ Classic Rock, Blues, Brass Rock, Latin/ African Rock, Jazz and Metal music.
As "non-commercial/ non-Top 40" music ranging from the mid sixties to the present day is featured, the intention is to cater for the more discerning music listener, with no age limits or restrictions imposed or implied. An open mind and a love of music is mandatory!
The programme, which is broadcast on 1485am Radio Today, every Friday evening between 10pm and 1am, is presented by Leon Economides, who has worked with radio greats such as Tony Sanderson (Chuckle and Chat Show on Radio 5), Chris Prior (The Priority Feature on Radio 5), Phil Wright (The Dinosaur Days on 5fm), and Rafe Lavine (Rock Classics and The Great Unknowns on Radio 5, and the original RockIt Scientists on SAfm).
Radio Today is also available nationwide on the DStv Audio Channel 70.
Wednesday 31 Aug 2005/ Friday 02 Sept 2005
01). Grobschnitt - Sahara
An amusing intro that's been used on many Dinosaur Days and earlier RockIt Scientists shows! Not exactly indicative of the quality of musicianship and songwriting from this great German band, whose roots go back to the band Crew in Hagen in 1966. Crew met up with an outfit called Charing Cross and Crew Blues Session was formed. This collaboration didn't last too long and Grobschnitt proper were formed in February 1970. They were one of Kraut Rock's most eccentric groups, encompassing elements of prog, psych, theatrics and wacky humor in their music. All of the members of the band adopted pseudonyms, namely Eroc, Bar, Mist, Wildschwein, Lupo and Popo. "Sahara" was taken from their second album, a double album called "Ballerman", released in 1974. Grobschnitt have been credited with having released two of Kraut Rock's best conceptual progressive albums, "Rockpommel's Land" in 1977 and "Solar Music - Live" in 1978. You'll be able to get an idea of how great this group sounded in the near future, right here on The RockIt Scientist.
02). Camel - Six Ate
From their brilliant self titled album in 1973. Keyboard player Peter Bardens (who passed away a few years ago), had featured with Them, Shotgun Express, Peter B's and Village before forming Camel. The other three members, drummer Andy Ward, bassist Doug Ferguson and guitarist Andy Latimer, had all been in a band called Brew, and had also featured with Philip Goodhand-Tait. Their instrumental album, "The Snow Goose", is probably their best known work, although Camel have produced a number of excellent albums over the years. The band went through numerous line-up changes, with Andy Latimer the only remaining original member. Having relocated to Mountain View in California a number of years back, Latimer has kept this great band alive, touring regularly and releasing albums of a consistently high quality. The RockIt Scientist rates him as one of his all-time favorite guitarists!
03). King Crimson - Epitaph
Widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Progressive rock, alongside Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd, King Crimson were formed in the UK in early 1969, evolving out of (Mike) Giles, (Pete) Giles and (Robert) Fripp, which had its roots in 1967. Pete Giles left the band and Greg Lake was recruited on bass and vocals, together with Ian McDonald on woodwinds and keyboards. Their big break came when they supported The Rolling Stones at their free concert in Hyde Park. They signed to Island Records and released the "In The Court Of The Crimson King" album, from which this track was taken, later that year. Greg Lake later left to become a founding member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and King Crimson went on to record some very good and interesting albums.
04). Novalis - Der Geigenspieler
Taken from their 6th album, "Vielleicht Bist Du Ein Clown?", in 1978. Novalis, who took their name from an 18th century poet and who hailed from Hamburg, Germany, started out in 1971 as a King Crimson/Pink Floyd covers band. They soon developed their own style and, after signing to the prestigious Brain label, they released their debut album, "Banished Bridge", in 1973. "Banished Bridge" was their first and last effort with English lyrics. The lyrics to subsequent albums were all sung in German, making them one of the Kraut Rock scene's most popular bands in their home country.Their later albums were a tad on the commercial side, but they were still a quality act nonetheless.
05). Affinity - Jive Samba
UK jazz-rock outfit Affinity were one of the first bands to sign to the newly formed Vertigo record label in 1970 (catalogue number Vertigo 6360 004). Formed in the late 60's, the band was blessed with the talents of "the girl most likely to succeed in 1970" vocalist Linda Hoyle, and featured drummer Grant Serpell, keyboard player Lynton Naiff, guitarist Mike Jopp and bassist Mo Foster. They played their first gig on 5 October 1968 at the Revolution Club, just off Berkeley Square, and would later go on to play at the famous Ronnie Scott's in London. Their debut album was released in early 1970 and was, until recently, believed to be the only recording from this very talented group. The Angel Air Record label has since released no less than THREE further albums of previously unreleased material, one of them being "Live Instrumentals - 1969", released in 2003, from which the featured track was taken. Recorded at Ronnie Scott's whilst Linda Hoyle was recovering from an operation on her vocal chords, this album featured the four musicians playing a whole bunch of jazz and blues standards. Great stuff from a great band! (Linda Hoyle, incidentally, later left Affinity, and she was replaced by Vivienne McAuliffe, previously of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. That era of Affinity's history is well documented on the "1971-72" album, released by Angel Air Records in 2003.)
06). Cressida - Reprieved
Another early addition to the Vertigo stable, UK progressive rock band Cressida recorded two excellent albums for the label. This track was taken off the second album, "Asylum", released in 1971. The five members were prime examples of the quality of musicians that was coming out of the UK at the time. The tracks on "Asylum" are a bit more involved than those on the debut album. This was a natural progression for a band that seemed destined for greatness. Unfortunately they faded into obscurity, leaving two albums that are quite sought after on the collector's market. Drummer Ian Clark replaced Keith Baker in Uriah Heep and appeared on their "Look At Yourself" album. The Cressida albums were released on CD by both Repertoire and Akarma Records a while back.
07). Otis Waygood Blues Band - Fever
From "Otis Waygood Blues Band", in 1970, the debut album from this Rhodesian band who moved to South Africa in late 1969. Founders Robert Zipper (sax/vocals/guitar), his brother Alan (bass), drummer Ivor Back and guitarist Leigh Sagar met up with vocalist Henry Poulos, who was later replaced by Bennie Miller. Their version of this classic track must be one of the best ever, and it was actually released as a single in 1970. The group, now known as "Otis Waygood", released a further two albums, "Simply", and "Ten Light Claps and a Scream" in 1971. The first two albums have been released on CD by Benjy Mudie on his Fresh Music record label ("Simply" features six tracks from "Ten Light Claps and a Scream" as bonus tracks). They then moved to the UK, where they played the club circuit, later changing their name to Isaiah.
08). Mini - Venusdal
From "Vissa A Varosba", in 1993, essentially a "Best of", documenting the work of this very good Hungarian jazz-rock band between the years 1972 to 1983. They were led by vocalist/flautist Adam Torok, and they released about six albums and split in the mid 80's. Info on a band like this is a tad hard to come by (especially if your knowledge of Hungarian is a bit dodgy!), but it would appear that Torok revived the band in 2001, as a new album called "Nomad of The Winds" was released that year.
09). Osibisa - Survival
Formed in London in 1969 by three Ghanaian and three Caribbean musicians, Osibisa played a central role in developing an awareness of African music and were very popular in Europe, as well as in England, where they went down a storm. This track, taken from their second album, "Woyaya", in 1971, is one of their most requested tracks, and it features the band at their tightest. Renown for their Roger Dean (Budgie, Uriah Heep, Yes, Paladin, Babe Ruth, etc) record sleeve covers, Osibisa's early albums were released on the MCA record label. They're apparently still around today.
10). El Chicano - Chicano Chant
Acknowledged as one of the premier Latin Rock bands, El Chicano were formed in East Los Angeles in the late 60's. Inspired by the likes of Santana, Puente and others, this band released a host of excellent albums, punctuated by a seriously tight rhythm and percussion section, not to mention sterling guitar work by dual guitarists Micky Lespron and Jerry Salas, two highly underrated guitarists, if there ever were any! "Chicano Chant", with its magnificent wah wah guitar and "tighter than a new convict's butt" percussion section was taken from their second album, "Revolucion", in 1971. The band split in the mid 70's and were revived by keyboard player and founding member Bobby Espinosa in the mid 90's, although only one studio album, "Painting The Moment", has since been released. (A double live album, "Latin Legends Live", featuring El Chicano, together with the legendary Malo and Tierra, was released in 1997).
11). Santana - No-One To Depend On
This album, "Santana 3", released in 1971, was arguably their best album. Carlos' band had already established themselves as one destined for great things with their appearance at Woodstock. Their "Abraxas" album had reached great heights on the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and the band were in great demand on the live scene. Guitarist Neil Schon definitely appears to give the master a serious run for his money on this, the second album to feature the guitarist who, together with Santana keyboard player, Greg Rolie, would go on to form Journey in 1975. Carlos Santana's rise to fame has been well documented. He's collaborated with some of the world's finest musicians and in turn is rightly regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world.
12). Quidam - Credo
Emila Derkowska is the possessor of the most fantastic and unique voice. She fronts one of Poland's best progressive rock bands. The track was taken from their 2003 album, "Pod Niebem Czas", which, directly translated, means "The Time Beneath The Sky", for those whose Polish is as good as their Mongolian. Quidam were formed in 1990 as "Deep River", initially as a blues and rock covers band. They moved in a more symphonic/progressive rock direction with the addition of flautist
Ewa Smarzynska, and then later Emila Derkowska, who also played the cello. Their self titled debut, released on the back of many accolades and musical awards in their home country, was released in 1996. Smarzynska has subsequently left the band, who have now released five albums (including a fantastic live album, recorded at the Baja Prog Festival in Mexico in 1999). Obviously aimed at the English speaking market, two of their albums, "Pod Niebem Czas" and "Sny Aniolow" ("Angel's Dreams"), in 1998, have been rewritten with English lyrics. All of Quidam's albums are highly recommended.(Not to be confused with the early 90's French band with the same name).
13). Mostly Autumn - Heart Life
From their brilliant and stunningly packaged 2005 album, "Storms Over Still Water", released on the Classic Rock Direct label. Mostly Autumn have got to be one of the finest bands to come out of the UK in the last ten years or so. They've progressed in leaps and bounds since their debut album "For All We Shared" in 1998. Formed around the core of the beautiful Heather Findlay on vocals and percussion, Bryan Josh on guitars and vocals, Iain Jennings on keyboards and vocals and Liam Davison on guitars, Bob Faulds on violin, Stuart Carver on bass, they went through a number of line-up changes, which included the addition of Angela Goldthorpe (now Gordon) on vocals and keyboards, who is not only very pleasing on the eye, but is surely also one of the progressive rock world's best flautists. The new album includes drummer Andrew Jennings and bassist Andy Smith. Heather Findlay is a rare talent, and, it has to be mentioned, she can give ANY pop/rock/dance female singer a run for their money in the looks as well as vocal stakes! It's been said that Mostly Autumn are the new Pink Floyd, which is a fair analogy, but there's something about this band that's very exciting. Both Bryan Josh and Iain Jennings are superb musicians, and their songwriting, together with that of Heather Findlay, is out of the top drawer. They've released a number of brilliant DVD's to date, including an elaborate set at The Grand Opera House a few years ago. If the live version of "The Gap Is Too Wide", complete with strings, choir and Uilleann pipes doesn't move you, you're either brain dead or you have the emotions of a crocodile! Given the right coverage, this track could prove to be as legendary as "Child In Time" or "Stairway To Heaven". If you need proof that prog rock is alive and well, and thriving, you need to become acquainted with Mostly Autumn.
14). Blackmore's Night - Written In The Stars
Like Mostly Autumn's Heather Findlay, singer Candice Night is an complete knockout! She suits the part of a Medieval/Renaissance-type songstress perfectly with her beautiful golden hair, stunning voice and pleasant stage presence. This track, taken from 2001's "Fires At Midnight", is sadly omitted, however, from their new double DVD, "Castles and Dreams", which was released on SPV a few months back. The rock world took a bit of strain when the man in black, best known for his work with Deep Purple and Rainbow, decided to don a pointy hat and tights, and almost completely change the style of music that he's world renown for. He teamed up with Candice Night in the 90's and they formed this wonderful folk/rock band, playing Medieval-type music. And you know what? It works, brilliantly! One thing's a dead cert: no matter what kind of guitar or guitar-type instrument Ritchie Blackmore plays, the man can blow most guitarists off the stage any day of the week. Add that to a very competent bunch of musicians, two lovely backing singers and this absolutely captivating goddess up front, and you have a recipe for success. The band play concerts in Medieval castles in Germany and it's so effective! Many people in the audience come dressed in the appropriate clothing and it really adds to the whole effect. And Blackmore? He looks like he's genuinely enjoying himself. He was even seen to SMILE on the odd occasion!
15). Three Foot Thang - Three Foot Thang
Taken from a self-titled five track EP, recorded about three years ago. This hard working South African fusion/rock outfit is well known on the live circuit. Guitarist Nigel Gedden is a serious talent. The band is also made up of Geoff Plant on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Bert Askes on bass and Kevin Van Rensburg on drums. Hopefully an official, full length album will be released in not too distant future. The band shows much promise.
16). Tale - More
Some more South African talent, this time from vocalist/guitarist/keyboard player Rob Granville. This conceptual album, entitled "Riverman Volume 1", was recorded in Johannesburg between January 1991 and November 1993, and was mastered in Wales. The album features drummer Andrew Thomas keyboard player extraordinaire Dave Sharp. Granville's songwriting is excellent and the musicianship makes this an album worthwhile adding to the collection, if you can find it!
17). David's Confession - The Horseman
Apparently conceived and produced on a massive budget, this largely ignored conceptual album, "About Time", was released in 1999. That in itself is a great tragedy, as the album, the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Mel Botes, is undoubtedly one of the greatest rock albums to come out of South Africa. Joining Botes are Philip Botha on drums and vocals, Andries Botha on guitars and vocals, and Conrad Botha on bass and vocals (collectively in a band called "Georgia"). The influences on this album range from Chris De Burgh right through to Savatage, making it an album of diverse emotions and styles, with superb musicianship from the guys. The track "Changes" is a masterpiece: you can expect to hear it on The RockIt Scientist in the near future. Mel Botes is an acclaimed actor and solo artist. The David's Confession story is not over yet!
18). Seven Wishes - Fortune Teller
From "Destination: Alive", brand new album from this Swedish melodic hard rock outfit. Sweden is well known for its great bands, and this quartet is no different. Their previous albums were released on Z Records - this would appear to be their first for MTM Music.
19). Greenhouze - Snow On The Roof
New self-titled album from this very competent US melodic rock outfit. Unfortunately no info available, but it was released on the MTM Music label earlier this year and is a must for lovers of AOR/Melodic rock music.
20). Off The Edge - Takin' It To Extremes
Dinosaur Days and RockIt Scientist listeners will be very familiar with this brilliant South Africa band. It's thanks to Phil Wright and Rafe Lavine, especially, that the band became one of the most frequently played bands on radio in this country. Formed by guitarist Peter Hanmer in the mid 80's, they released one album and folded, with the various members going off to other ventures. Peter revived the band, together with bassist/vocalist Tony Groenewald in the late nineties. A few other well received albums were released, notably with singers Judy Marshall and Giselle Mynhardt. The featured track "Takin' It To Extremes" was taken from the band's latest album, "Site Under Construction", which was released in early 2004. This is probably the band's strongest and best album to date, with Peter Hanmer leading from the front with his usual excellent songwriting and guitar skills. The band now features vocalist and superb frontman Clint Cunningham, who has brought a whole new level of excitement to Off The Edge. Keyboard player Dave Sharp, one of the best in the country, adds punch to the songs, and background vocalist Sherry Jones compliments Clint's powerful voice. Two new additions to the band, namely bassist Mike Dorea and drummer Glenn Welman, have filled the gaps very well and the band have now played three live gigs, to much acclaim. You'll hear details of any further Off The Edge gigs on The RockIt Scientist!