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The RockIt Scientist
on 1485 Radio Today

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 2 November 2005/ Friday 4 November 2005

01). Band o' Gypsys - Sea Horse

From "I Want You To Know", in 2004, their second album. Still led and fronted by guitarist/vocalist Peter Pulvenis, Band o' Gypsys, who were formed in 1962, originally as the Sasons (South African sons), are one of the oldest groups in the world, never mind in South Africa! They released their debut album, "She's a Mermaid", in 1995. Their Hendrix-influenced brand of hard blues-rock made them very popular. The line-up on "I Want You To Know" is Benny Pulvenis on drums, percussion and vocals, Robbie Sanna on bass, and Gary Fulton on acoustic & rhythm guitar. The band are still around today and regularly play the live circuit.

02). The Groundhogs - 3744 James Road

Taken from "Hogwash", in 1972, their sixth album. The Groundhogs were formed in the UK in 1963 by guitarist/vocalist Tony (TS)McPhee, together with drummer Dave Boorman, bassist Pete Cruickshank, vocalist/harp player John Cruickshank and pianist Bob Hall. They started out supporting John Lee Hooker (as John Lee's Groundhogs) for two years before splitting in 1965. They then reformed as The Groundhogs in 1968, with the line-up of McPhee, Pete Cruickshank and new members, harmonica player Steve Rye and drummer Ken Pustelnik, and they released their debut album, ''Scratching The Surface", in 1969, which was quite bluesy. Rye then left the band. Their second album, "Blues Obituary", was their final blues effort and they then moved into a more hard rock direction from then onwards and became quite popular on the live circuit. Clive Brookes (ex-Egg), replaced Ken Pustelnik on drums, and the line-up of "TS", Pete Cruickshank and Brooks appeared on the featured album. The Groundhogs folded after 1974's "Solid" album, with TS going on to record his first solo album. He reformed the band in 1975, with ex-Home drummer Mick Cook replacing Clive Brookes. Two albums, "Crosscut Saw" and "Black Diamond", with bassist Martin Kent and guitarist Dave Wellbeloved, were released in 1976, but The Groundhogs split again, this time for nearly ten years. TS then reformed the band in the mid 80's, utilizing the services of bassist Alan Fish and drummer Mick Kirton on the "Razor's Edge" album in 1985. There've been a whole bunch of live and compilation album releases from The Groundhogs over the years, some of the better ones being "Hogs On The Road" (with ex-Hawkwind bassist Dave Anderson and drummer Mick Jones), and "Groundhog Night" in 1993. A couple of great later studio albums to look out for are "The Muddy Waters Songbook" and "Hogs In Wolf's Clothing". "TS" McPhee remains one of the most respected blues/rock guitarists in the world.

03). Hookfoot - Here I Come

This excellent UK blues/rock outfit were formed in 1969 by a bunch of very competent session musicians who'd collectively evolved out of the ashes of two bands called "The Loot" and "The Soul Agents". The initial line-up featured highly regarded guitarist Caleb Quaye, guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Ian Duck, sought-after drummer Roger Pope and bassist Dave Glover. They released their self-titled debut album in May 1971 and soon embarked on two lengthy tours of the US, supporting Jefferson Airplane, as well as with Elton John, later working with him on his own music label, DJM Records, as session musicians. Glover left Hookfoot after the second album, ''Good Times a Comin' ", was recorded in early 1972. His replacement was ex-Sam Gopal and Bluesology bassist Freddy Gandy. Two further albums, "Communication" in 1972 and "Roaring" in 1973 were released before this great band were no more. The track featured was taken from their excellent "recorded for radio airplay and previously unreleased'' "Live in Memphis, USA, 1972" album, released in 1990. As a live act, Hookfoot really cooked!

04). The Doors - The Changeling


From "LA Woman" in 1971, one of their best albums, and one of the last albums to feature vocalist Jim Morrison, who died on 3 July 1971. Morrison, who was one of the late sixties' sex symbols, formed this famous band with keyboard player Ray Manzarek in 1965. Guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore were recruited from The Psychedelic Rangers and The Doors released their self-titled debut album in 1967. They released a total of seven albums between 1967 and 1971, and it's interesting to note that every album did fairly well on the US charts, notably "Waiting For The Sun" (1968, reaching number 1), ''The Doors" (debut, in 1967, reaching number 2), and "Strange Days" (1968, reaching number 3). They built up a tremendous reputation as a live act, as a Doors gig was not just a rock concert but more of a theatrical show. On their debut show at the Fillmore West, they opened the show third to The Young Rascals and Sopwith Camel, and they stole the show. Morrison was the perfect showman: he was a great singer, he was good looking, controversial, some might even say arrogant, and the crowds loved him. Unfortunately, though, he was almost on a self-destructive mission of excess that claimed his life. When he died, the others continued as a trio and released "Other Voices" in 1971 (Iggy Pop from The Stooges was apparently approached to replace Morrison, but this never materialized). A posthumously released album, "An American Prayer" came out in 1978. Densmore and Krieger formed the short-lived Butts Band in 1974 with vocalist Jess Roden, bassist Phil Chen and keyboard player Ray Davies. Two albums, ''The Butts Band" (1974) and "Hear & Now" (1975), were released.

05). Pacific Gas & Electric - Are You Ready

The title track of their third album, released in 1970. This US band was formed by vocalist Charlie Allen in the late 60's during the peak of the West Coast peace and love movement, initially as The Pacific Gas & Electric Blues Band. Joining Allen were guitarists Glenn Schwartz and Tom Marshall, ex-Canned Heat drummer Frank Cook and bassist Brent Block. They released their debut album, "Get It On", on the tiny California-based record label, Bright Orange, in 1969. They were then spotted by a Columbia Records talent scout at The First Annual Miami Pop Festival, and after signing to the label, they released their debut, self-titled album for Columbia in the summer of 1969. This album peaked at number 91 on the Billboard charts, and set the stage for bigger things to come, in the shape of the featured album. "Are You Ready" was released in the summer of 1970. With dynamic back-up vocals by The Blackberries and a distinctly Gospel feel, the track became an immediate hit, reaching the Top 20 that year. The album sold well after the single's success, remaining on the Billboard charts for almost three months. They went on to enjoy further success as simply "P G & E", but the band folded in the mid 70's. Charlie Allen died on May 7th, 1990.

06). Illinois Speed Press - Hard Luck Story

A US quintet who were formed in Chicago in February 1968, evolving out of two bands, "The Roving Kind" and "HP Lovecraft". The initial line-up featured Kal David and Paul Kotton on guitar and vocals, Fred Page on drums, Rob Lewine on bass and Mike Anthony on keyboards. The songs on their albums ranged from hard rock to blues to psychedelia. This self-titled debut album, from which the featured track was taken, was released in 1969 on Columbia Records. It reached number 144 on the album charts during 1969. A second album, called ''Duets", was released the following year, by which time the band had relocated to California, but neither album made much of an impact and the band split. Kal David went on to form The Fabulous Rhinestones and Paul Cotton joined Poco in 1971.

07). Jukka Tolonen Trio - A Man To Trust

Finnish guitarist Jukka Tolonen was a founding member of Tasavallan Presidentti, one of Finland's best and best known bands. He recorded four albums with the band between 1969 and 1974, and he released his debut solo album, "Tolonen!", in 1971. He was also the unofficial guitarist with Wigwam, another famous Finnish band, and appeared on two of their albums. As a soloist, he's recorded a number of great albums between 1971 and the late 90's, and has featured with the likes of Swedish guitarist Coste Apetrea, keyboard player Joachim Kuhn and a host of others. An extremely versatile and talented guitarist, he's equally at home playing jazz, rock, blues or funk. The featured track was taken from "Last Mohican", released in 1995, with Haase Larsson on bass, double bass and background vocals, and Kjell Gustavson on vocals, drums and percussion, as the other members of this power trio. His albums with Tasvallan Presidentti and his first four solo albums,("Tolonen", ''Summer Games", "The Hook" and "Hysterica"), are highly recommended, although later offerings such as the featured album, are particularly enjoyable.

08). Peter Green Splinter Group - Cool Down

Peter Green (born Peter Greenbaum, in London on 29 October 1946) is best known for his work with Fleetwood Mac, who he formed with drummer Mick Fleetwood in July 1967. (The two of them had previously featured in Peter's B's and Shotgun Express, and Green had then replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in July 1966, although he was sacked after just one month!). He recorded his first solo album, "The End Of The Game", in 1970, after having left Fleetwood Mac. He then recorded an album with Gass (called "Juju"), the same year, but this album, like his solo album, made had very little impact on the music-buying public. He then faded into obscurity and only resurfaced in the late 70's, releasing his "In The Skies" album that year, and has released albums fairly consistently since then. One of the most respected blues guitarists/vocalists in the world, his songwriting is legendary, and he has influenced countless blues musicians from all over the world. He has worked with some of the music world's biggest names and he formed The Peter Green Splinter Group in the 90's. This great album, called ''Reaching The Cold 100", was released in 2003, and it includes a bonus four track EP (with brilliant versions of "Black Magic Woman" and "Green Manalishi"!), features Green's old friend, guitarist Nigel Watson (who appeared on "The End Of The Game"), bassist Pete Stroud, drummer Larry Tolfree and keyboard player Roger Cotton.

09). Shane Theriot - Punch

Shane Theriot is a very talented New Orleans-based US guitarist who started playing guitar from a very young age. He's using the services of Victor Wooten from Bela Fleck and the Flectones, one of the best bassists around. His album, "Highway 90'', released in 2000, features him playing some very interesting and diverse styles.

10). Geronimo Black - Low Ridin' Man

Taken from their self-titled debut album, released in 1972. Geronimo Black were formed by vocalist & drummer Jimmy Carl Black, horn player Bunk Gardner and guitarist Denny Walley, all of whom had been members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention group, together with keyboard player Andy Kahan, sax player Tjay Contrelli and bassist Tom Leavey. Zappa's influence is pretty obvious, as the band's music is both quirky and brilliant, and the band showed much promise. They seemed to fade away after this album, but a second album, "Welcome Back Geronimo Black", came out in 1980. Jimmy Carl Black later collaborated with Arthur Brown, of Kingdom Come fame.

11). Tucky Buzzard - Heartbreaker

This band with the decidedly American name is actually from the UK! Formed in the late 60's, they evolved out of a band called "The End". Whilst supporting the Rolling Stones on one of their tours, they struck up a friendship with Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who later became their manager. The initial members were guitarist Terry Taylor, keyboard player Nick Graham (NOT the same Nick Graham of Atomic Rooster/Skin Alley fame!), bassist Dave Brown, Chris Johnson on drums, rhythm guitarist Phil Talbot, and Jimmy Henderson on vocals. Drummer Paul Francis is also credited with having played with the band. They released their self-titled debut album, on Capitol Records in 1970 (this album was apparently only released in the US, and is quite difficult {impossible!} to find! This is actually where the Tucky Buzzard story gets a tad confusing, made even more so by the liner notes taken from the two-on-one Repertoire Records release in 1996: according to a number of reference books, "Warm Slash" was their first album, it was apparently released in 1969. The self-titled "debut" album is not even mentioned in these same books, although an album called "Coming On Again", released in 1971, is shown as the band's SECOND album, in Terry Hounsome's Rock Record 7 book. Confused? Join the club, but either way, I'd love to get hold of a copy of that elusive debut/second album someday!!). The band did release two further great albums, "Allright On The Night" and "Buzzard", both on Deep Purple's "Purple" label, before folding in the mid 70's. Tucky Buzzard really had the potential to go far, but they were plagued with bad luck (one particularly sad occasion was when they were billed to perform at The California Jam in 1975, alongside Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and others, in front of over a quarter of a million fans, an event that would have given them a tremendous boost, but backstage wrangling and bad timing ensured that the missed the event).

12). Bowes Morley - Desire

Vocalist Danny Bowes and guitarist Luke Morley were both founding member of fantastic UK blues/rock outfit Thunder. They've released two albums together, as an 'aside' to Thunder, the featured track being taken of their second album, "Mo's Barbeque", released in 2004. Their albums are a tad more funky than Thunder, and they do it very well. They do a great cover of Stretch's "Why Did You Do It". Their first album, "Moving Swiftly Along", came out a few years ago. Danny Bowes is undoubtedly one of the best vocalists to come out of the UK, and Luke Morley's great strengths are his guitar playing and his songwriting. Joining them are Thunder bassist Chris Childs, Mario Goossens on drums and Mark Taylor on keyboards. Ian Moffat, Martine Robertson and Ben Gant kick some serious brass on this very classy album.

13). Ides of March - Dancing In The Street

Ides Of March

We featured this powerful US brass/rock band a few weeks ago, and have had a few requests to feature more from the band. This track was taken from their double live album, "Beware! The Ides of March (Live)", recorded in April 2002. Still featuring guitarist/vocalist Jim Peterik, who went on to feature with Chase, Survivor, Mariah and others. The Ides of March were originally formed in the mid 60's and existed for about ten years before folding. This stunning live album, recorded in their hometown of Chicago, also features original members Bob Bergland on bass, sax and vocals, Chuck Soumar on trumpet, percussion and vocals, Larry Millas on rhythm guitar, bass and vocals, Mike Borch on drums and vocals, John Larson on trumpet and vocals, together with keyboard player Scott May and trombonist Dave Stahlberg. They do a stunning version of ''Tobacco Road", and their version of their classic ''Vehicle", from their debut album, originally released in 1970, has to be heard to be believed! If you thought their horn section back in the day was brilliant, you'll freak when you hear how good they're sounding on this album!

14). Bobby Harrison - Whiskey Head

From his debut solo album, ''Funkist", recorded around 1972. Drummer/vocalist Bobby Harrison, who'd originally been in Procol Harum, had formed the UK blues/rock outfit Freedom in the late 60's. When Freedom split in 1972, Harrison set about recording this solo album, using musicians such as Tony Iommi on guitar (Black Sabbath), Ian Paice on drums (Deep Purple), Chris Stewart on bass (Joe Cocker/Spooky Tooth), Micky Moody on guitar (Juicy Lucy), and a host of others. Moody and Harrison then went on to form Snafu in 1973, and Harrison later worked with Icelandic fusion outfit Mezzoforte, with whom he recorded his "Solid Silver" album between 1986 and 1987. According to the liner notes on "Solid Silver", Harrison reformed Snafu a while back, although no new (known) recordings have surfaced.

15). Atlantis - Living At The Edge of Time


A Hamburg-based German outfit, formed when Frumpy folded in 1972. The band featured vocalist Inga Rumpf, ex- Armaggedon guitarist Frank Diez, ex-Emergency drummer Curt Cress, together with bassist Carl-Heinz Schott and keyboard player Jean-Jacques Kravetz, both of whom had, together with Inga Rumpf, also been in Frumpy. The featured track was taken from their self-titled debut album, released on Vertigo Records (as were most of their albums), in 1972. The album received good reviews, but shortly before the band were to embark on a UK tour with Procol Harum, Vinegar Joe and Traffic, both Frank Diez and Curt Cress left Atlantis (Diez moved to Emergency, Cress joined Passport). Their respective replacements were Dieter Bornschlegel, ex-Traumtorte, and Ringo Funk, ex-Jeronimo. The next album, "It's Getting Better", released in 1973, had a more jazz/funk feel, and, although it wasn't as well received as the debut album, it was still a great effort from the band who were to embark on tours with the likes of Spooky Tooth and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Album number three, "Ooh Baby", featured ex Curly Curve guitarist Alex Conti, together with English keyboard player Adrian Askew (he replaced the Randy Pie-bound Jean-Jacques Kravetz). This was a decidedly funky album, with most of the songs being written by Conti and Askew. "Atlantis - Live", recorded at Hamburg's famed Fabrik between 1973 and 1975, captured the band at their best. Released as a double lp/single CD, it was the last album to feature Alex Conti, who went on to form Lake (he also released a solo album, "Continued", in the mid 80's). Original guitarist Frank Diez returned, and a second guitarist, Rainer Marz (ex-Twenty Sixty Six & Then, etc) joined. The resultant album, the American-influenced "Get On Board", released in 1975, failed commercially, and both Inga Rumpf and Karl-Heinz Schott announced their departure in January 1976. This signaled the end of Atlantis, although they reformed for a single reunion concert on February 23, 1983. A couple of albums with previously unreleased tracks, notably ''Top Of The Bill" and "Alleycat", were subsequently released. Inga Rumpf embarked on a successful solo career and she was involved in the Frumpy reunion in 1989.

16). White Witch - Dwellers of The Threshold/Help Me Lord

From their self-titled debut album, released in 1972. White Witch were a very promising US rock band who were led by vocalist Ron Goedert. The other members were Bobby Shea on drums, Buddy Pendergrass on keyboards, Buddy Richardson on guitars and Beau Fisher (later replaced by Charlie Souza) on bass. They were one of the Capricorn label's more eccentric acts, almost like Kiss, with their stage act and make-up, although their standard of musicianship was superb. They released a second album, called ''A Spiritual Greeting", in 1974, and split. Information on this band is strangely almost impossible to find.

17). Badger - On The Way Home


This fantastic UK band were quite unique in that their debut album, from which this track was taken, was actually a live album. Called "One Live Badger", it was released in 1973. The band was formed by ex-Yes and Flash keyboard player Tony Kaye, together with ex-Medicine Head/Three Man Army guitarist Brian Parrish, bassist Dave Foster from The Warriors and Roy Dyke, ex-Ashton, Gardner and Dyke/Family drummer. The album is one of the finest examples of keyboard based progressive hard rock you'll find anywhere, and it's badger "pop-up" cover, designed and drawn by the famous Roger Dean, make it one of the finest albums to come out of the UK. The album, strangely enough, failed to catch the public's imagination. Foster was subsequently replaced by Kim Gardner, and ex-Stealers Wheel guitarist replaced Brian Parrish. Former Undertakers frontman Jackie Lomax was drafted (he wrote all the tracks for the new album). The more soulful "White Lady", which proved to be Badger's second and final album, was recorded in New Orleans in 1974. The album paled in comparison to the first and the band split before it was released, following a gig supporting Electric Light Orchestra, with whom they had an argument over the use of the p.a system!

18). Paladin - Bad Times


An instrumental version of this great number that originally appeared on their self-titled debut album in 1971. Paladin was an unfortunately short-lived but brilliant UK keyboard-based progressive band, formed by keyboard player Peter Solley and drummer Keith Webb, both of whom were working as backing musicians for vocalist Terry Reid. Wanting to form their own band, free of any restrictions, they recruited bassist Pete Beckett (ex-World of Oz), guitarist Derek Foley (ex-Grisby Dyke) and keyboard player Lou Stonebridge (ex-Glass Menagerie) and formed Paladin in mid 1970. By the end of that year, they were ready to play the club circuit, and their rich blend of Blues, Afro-Cuban, Latin, Jazz and Rock music gave them a unique musical flavour that went down very well. They signed to Bronze Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1971. Paladin was a very exciting live band, and producer Phil Lincoln managed to capture the band's magic perfectly on the album. They released an equally good second album, "Charge!", in 1972, with it's Roger Dean cover, but they unfortunately split in the early 70's, with Stonebridge going on to feature with McGuiness Flint and Solley joining Micky Moody and Bobby Harrison in Snafu. Solley also featured on Gravy Train's "Staircase To The Day" album. Guitarist Joe Jammer, who featured on "Charge!", recorded as a solo artist. Peter Beckett went on to find fame with Player, the US melodic rock outfit, in 1977.

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