01). Lighthouse - One Fine Morning
From "One Fine Morning", the fourth album, released in 1971, from one of Canada's best ever bands. Lighthouse was formed in Toronto by ex-Paupers drummer, Skip Prokop, together with keyboard player Paul Hoffert and guitarist Ralph Cole. Prokop has also featured with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield on their Super Session album, and he'd also worked with Ritchie Havens, Cass Elliot and others. Lighthouse, who at times numbered as many as thirteen musicians, released their self-titled debut album on the RCA Record label in 1969. They soon built up a reputation as a fantastic live act and became quite popular in the US. This album, their first for the Evolution label (it was released on Vertigo in the UK, as was the subsequent album, ''Thoughts Of Movin' On"), was the first to feature new vocalist, Bob McBride, and it signaled a new, more rock orientated direction for the band. They went on to release a total of ten albums before splitting in the mid 70's. Skip Prokop released a solo album, "All Growed Up'', in 1977 before becoming a DJ on a Christian radio station. They reformed in the late nineties and released an album called "Song Of The Ages". Personnel on "One Fine Morning" were Skip Prokop (drums), Paul Hoffert (keyboards), Ralph Cole (guitar), Bob McBride (vocals), Dick Armin (cello), Pete Pantaluk (trumpet), Larry Smith (trombone), Keith Jollimore (baritone/tenor saxes), Don Di Novo (viola), Howard Shore (flute/alto sax - you may have seen his name in the music credits of many famous movies!) and Louis Yacknin (bass).
02). Chase - I Can Feel It
Written by guitarist Angel South, and taken from their awesome second album, "Ennea" (nine in Greek - nine members in the band. Geddit?), released in 1972. Bill Chase had previously featured with the likes of Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman. He wanted to form a band with a jazz/rock feel, so he formed his own band in 1970. One of the most powerful brass/horn rock bands around, their line-up included no less than four trumpet players, notably Bill Chase, Ted Piercefield, Alan Ware and Jerry Van Blair. The initial Chase line-up also included vocalist Jerry Richards, keyboard player Phil Porter, bassist Dennis Johnson, guitarist Angel South and drummer Jay Burrid. By the time this second album came about, Jay Burrid had been replaced by Gary Smith and Jerry Richards had been replaced by G.G.Shinn, a man with the most unbelievably powerful and versatile voice. The band released a total of three stunning albums before Bill Chase and three other members were killed in an aircraft accident on 9 August 1974. A fourth studio album surfaced in the nineties, and four live albums have also been released.
03). Walrus - Who Can I Trust (2'36)
Walrus were a short-lived UK horn rock outfit who were formed in 1970. Their eponymous album, released on the Deram label in 1970, demonstrated a very good eight piece band who's music had elements of blues and great guitar work, courtesy of guitarist John Scates. Joining Scates were bassist Steve Hawthorn, drummer Nick Gabb, vocalist Noel Greenaway, keyboard player Barry Parfitt, sax players Roy Voce and Bill Hoad and trumpet player Don Richards Similar in style to another great UK ''unknown", Warm Dust, they did a great cover version of Traffic's "Coloured Rain". They split in 1971 and the album has become a minor collectible.
04). Mogul Thrash - Dreams Of Glass And Sand (5'04)
Mogul Thrash were a supergroup in the making, although they only recorded one self-titled album in 1971. Formed in Scotland, they were previously known as The Dundee Horns. The band featured a number of well known musicians, notably James Litherland, who'd been in Colosseum, John Wetton, ex-King Crimson, keyboard player Brian Auger and future Average White members, sax players Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan. John Wetton later went on to find fame in Family, Uriah Heep, Asia and others.
05). Gary Wright - Keep Love In Your Soul (4'56)
Taken from ''Headin' Home", his sixth album, released in 1979. US keyboard player Gary Wright first came to prominence as a founding member of UK band Art, which eventually evolved into Spooky Tooth, in the late 60's. He also had his own band, Wonderwheel, and he recorded his debut solo album, "Extraction", in 1970. An accomplished and incredibly talented vocalist and keyboard player, he went on to release a further nine solo albums between 1971 and 1998, one of them being his famous ''Dream Weaver" album, the title track of which became a major charting single in the US. The track would also later feature in two movies, namely "The People vs Larry Flynt" and "Wayne's World". The musicians who appeared on the featured number included Fred Tackett on rhythm guitar, Steve Lukather on lead guitar, Bobby Lyle on piano, Paulinho da Costa and Audie Watkins on percussion, Jim Horn on sax and Alan White on drums.
06). Ambrosia - Living On My Own (4'43)
One of the US's best AOR bands. Formed in Los Angeles in 1970 by bassist/vocalist Joe Puerta, guitarist/vocalist David Pack, drummer Burleigh Drummond and keyboard player Chris North, they were discovered by Zubin Mehta, who was the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the time. They signed to the 20th Century Record label and released their self-titled debut album in 1975. They released one further album for the label before moving to Warner Brothers records in 1978, and it was from here on that their fortunes really changed for the better. Their third album, ''Life Beyond L.A.", released in 1978, contained one of their biggest radio hits, "How Much I Feel". The featured track was taken from "One Eighty", in 1980, their fourth album, and the band by now included vocalist Royce Jones and keyboard player David Cutler Lewis, who'd also appeared on "Life Beyond L.A". They released one further album, ''Road Island", in 1982, before folding in the early 80's. Alan Parsons produced their second album,"Somewhere I've Never Travelled" in 1976, and the band in turn featured on his debut album, "Tales Of Mystery and Imagination", in the same year. Ambrosia reformed in the late 90's, but apart from a great live album released a few years ago, no new studio recordings have surfaced. A dvd was released a few years ago. David Pack released a solo album called "Anywhere You Go", and he also collaborated on later Alan Parsons albums.
07). Randy Pie - Super Sid
From ''Highway Driver" in 1974, the second album from this great German band, who were formed in Hamburg in the early 70's, evolving out of two bands, The Rattles and Randy Pie & Family. The initial line-up included Manfred "Thissy" Thiers (ex-Gash) on bass and vocals, Dicky Tarrach on drums, Werner Becker on vocals and keyboards and Bernd Wippich on guitars. They released their very well received eponymous album (which was also released as "Sightseeing Tour"), in 1974. The featured album was the first to feature keyboard player Jean-Jacques Kravetz, ex-Frumpy and Atlantis. Randy Pie went on to release a further three albums, ''Kitsch" in 1975, their great double live album, "England, England", the following year, and their final album, "Fast Forward" before folding in the late 70's, although they reformed in the mid to late 80's and released an album called "Magic Ferry".
08). Atomic Rooster - Time Take My Life
From "Made In England" in 1972, the first album to feature vocalist Chris Farlowe, who'd previously featured with Colosseum. This album was also the first to feature new members, guitarist Steve Bolton and drummer Rick Parnell, who'd previously been in Horse. Atomic Rooster were formed in the late 60's by keyboard player Vincent Crane and drummer Carl Palmer, together with bassist/guitarist/flautist/vocalist Nick Graham. Carl Palmer left to become a founding member of ELP, and Nick Graham left for Skin Alley. Guitarist/vocalist John Du Cann (ex-Attack and Andromeda) came in, as did drummer Paul Hammond (ex-Farm), and the trio recorded two brilliant albums, "Death Walks Behind You" in 1970 and "In Hearing Of" in 1971 (the latter with vocalist Peter French of Leafhound/Cactus/Randy Pie fame). The Chris Farlowe era raised a few eyebrows, as the band's style changed to a more soulful, funky sound, although still retaining that Vincent Crane magic that made them one of England's musical gems. Steve Bolton left (he later played with The Who) and he was replaced by Johnny Mandala (aka John Goodsall of Brand X fame!). One further album, "Nice 'n Greasy", was released before Crane disbanded the group in 1973. He reformed the band at the onset of the 80's, and later members included drummers Preston Hayman and Ginger Baker, guitarists Dave Gilmour, Bernie Torme and John Mizarolli. Vincent Crane, who joined Dexys Midnight Runners for a short while, also collaborated with his old buddy, Arthur Brown, on his "Taro Rota" album. He tragically died on 14 February 1989.
09). Soft Machine - Hazard Profile
(The) Soft Machine were a UK outfit, formed in Canterbury in the late 60's by drummer Robert Wyatt (ex-Wilde Flowers, later to form Matching Mole), bass guitarist/vocalist Kevin Ayers, guitarists Larry Nolan and Daevid Allen, and keyboard player Mike Ratledge. They chose their name from a William Burroughs novel and they recorded their debut album in 1968. The band went through numerous line-up changes and musical styles, with musicians such as guitarist Andy Summers (later of The Police fame), bassist Hugh Hopper, sax player Elton Dean and a host of others, featuring with the band at various stages. "Bundles", from which the featured track was taken, was released in 1975 and it featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth, sax/keyboard player Karl Jenkins, bassist Roy Babbington, drummer John Marshall and Mike Ratledge, as the only remaining original member. UK jazz/rock outfit Nucleus had first performed this track under the title of ''Song For The Bearded Lady'' on their ''We'll Talk About It Later'' album in 1970. Guitarist John Etheridge, ex-Global Village Trucking Company and Darryl Way's Wolf, later replaced Holdsworth.
10). Tempest - Upon Tomorrow (6'13)
From their self-titled debut album, recorded in 1972. Tempest was a fantastic outfit put together by drummer Jon Hiseman when Colosseum folded. Joining him were ex-Juicy Lucy vocalist/keyboard player Paul Williams, guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who'd come from Igginbottom's Wrench, and bassist/vocalist/keyboard player Mark Clarke, also ex-Colosseum. The debut Tempest album was a fantastic effort, with superb musicianship and strong tunes, and it would appear that the band were destined for greatness. The bubble burst, however, when both Holdsworth and Williams left before the band's second (and final) album, "Living In Fear", in 1973. Guitarist/vocalist Ollie Halsall, ex-Timebox and Patto, was a more than adequate replacement for both Williams and Holdsworth, though, and he appeared on the final album. The band folded in the mid 70's and Jon Hiseman went on to form Colosseum 2. Mark Clarke went on to work with Uriah Heep, Mountain and others. Paul Williams later collaborated with Allan Holdsworth and sang with the reformed Colosseum in the late 90's (standing in on occasion for the otherwise occupied Chris Farlowe, and doing a fantastic job, thank you very much!). Ollie Halsall died on May 29th, 1992, a tragic loss to music in general.
11). Axe - Battles (5'55)
Axe were a US hard rock outfit formed by guitarist/vocalist Bobby Barth, keyboard player/vocalist Edgar Riley, bassist/vocalist Mike Turpin and drummer Teddy Mueller. Evolving out of a band called Babyface, they recruited second guitarist Mike Osbourne and changed their name to Axe in the late 70's. They released their eponymous album, from which the featured track was taken, in 1979. Subsequent albums were "Living On The Edge", in 1980, "Offering" in 1982 and ''Nemesis" in 1983.(Turpin left in the early 80's and was replaced by Wayne Haner).They gained moderate acclaim but tragedy struck in 1984 when Osbourne was killed in a car accident. The band then folded in the mid 80's and Barth released a solo album, called "Two Hearts One Beat", in 1986. He also had a short stint with Blackfoot and, in the mid to late 90's, was involved in producing bands such as Red Rock Roosters, Cita and others. He also revived Axe around that time, together with Riley and Mueller and new members, Bob Harris on vocals and Blake Eberhard on bass. This line-up recorded "Axe 5" in 1997, and two "compilation" albums ("Twenty Years From Home" in 1997 and "Twenty Years - Volume 2", in 1998), of early Axe material, re-recorded with the new line-up. He now fronts Blackfoot full time, having replaced guitarist/vocalist Ricky Medlocke, who joined Lynyrd Skynyrd an number of years ago.
12). Xit - Someday/End? (8'00)
Next to Redbone, Xit were one of the best known native American Indian bands to emerge from the US in the late 60's/early 70's. Evolving out of a band called Lincoln Street Exit, Xit were formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the mid to late 60's. The band members were Jomac Suazo (bass), Michael Martin (guitar/vocals), Leeja Herrera (drums/percussion) and R.C.Gariss (guitar). They released their debut album, "Plight Of The Redman", from which the featured tracks were taken, in 1972. Complete with strings courtesy of concertmaster Gene Page, later of Barry White fame, the debut album, with it's very cutting, controversial and thought provoking protest lyrics, was apparently banned in the US. Tom Bee later replaced Martin, and the band's most famous album, "Silent Warrior", with it's charting minor hit "Reservation of Education", was released in 1973. They went on to release a further three albums ''Entrance'', "Relocation" and the live "Drums Across The Atlantic", before finally folding in the 80's.
13). BBM - Where In The World (5'23)
Sort of a revived and revised Cream, with Ginger Baker on drums, Jack Bruce on bass and vocals, together with Gary Moore, who was brought in to replace Eric Clapton. The resulting self-titled album, released in 1994, was a fantastic mix of ballads and hard rockers. The "reunion" was short-lived, though, and the band split shortly afterwards. Cream, with Clapton, reformed in May 2005 and they've just released a fantastic new double cd and double dvd.
14). Nektar - Remember The Future Part 2 (11'14)
Arguably the finest conceptual progressive rock album ever to be released! Although Nektar were a UK band, they gigged constantly around Germany, where they were extremely popular. The line-up, which featured Derek "Mo" Moore on bass and vocals, Roye Albrighton on guitar and vocals, Ron Howden on drums and Alan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, evolved from two bands, namely Beast and MI5. Nektar was born in late 1968. Virtually ignored by the US and the UK, the band decided to stay in Germany, where they later signed to the Bacillus label, releasing their debut album, the sci-fi concept "Journey To The Centre Of The Eye", in 1972. Nektar's light show, handled by the band's fifth member, Mick Brockett, was as legendary as their music, and was said to outdo even Pink Floyd's set-up. Later albums such as ''A Tab In The Ocean" and the double " .....Sounds Like This" were much better than the debut, as the band had moved into a more progressive/hard rock direction that suited them perfectly. "Remember The Future" was their first album to be recorded specifically for the UK market, but they were still largely ignored, although they soon found their audience in the US, where they became very popular. They also recorded a number of live albums in the US. The featured album, which was originally released in 1973 on the now defunct United Artists Records label, is basically comprised of two tracks, one on each side. Nektar's guitar and keyboard based rock has become legendary - they split in the 80's, but reformed in the late 90's and have picked up where they left off - they've been playing to sold out venues wherever they play. They've released two new albums ("Prodigal Son" and "Evolution"), plus a few great dvd's since they reformed. Founding member, Roye Albrighton is highly under-rated as both a guitarist and a singer.
15). Frumpy - By The Way (6'59)
The title track of their third and final studio album, released in 1972. Frumpy, who were formed in Hamburg, Germany, in March 1970, evolved out of a folk-pop band called The City Preachers. They debuted at the Blues and Folk Festival that year, but they were too experimental and progressive to appeal to a pop audience. The members included vocalist/percussionist Inga Rumpf, Carsten Bohn on drums, French keyboard player Jean-Jacques Kravetz and Karl-Heinz Schott on bass. They released their guitar-less debut album, "All Will Be Changed", in August of 1970 and it was very well received. The follow-up, "Frumpy 2", featured ex-Sphinx Tush guitarist Rainer Baumann, and this album proved to be their most popular effort. The featured album, however, was their best, with the band having developed into a very tight unit, with great musicianship and songwriting. A double live album was released in 1972, but by this time, Frumpy had evolved into the more commercial Atlantis. Frumpy reformed in 1989 and released a few more albums, ("Now!'', "News" and "Live Ninety Five"), but these paled in comparison to their earlier material. Inga Rumpf became a successful solo artist.
16). 2066 and Then - Spring (6'00)
This outfit were considered to be one of Germany's best ever prog rock/psych outfits, although they were only in existence for about a year! They released one highly regarded and sought after hard rock/psych album, "Reflections On The Future", in 1972. Ex-I Drive vocalist Geff Harrison, who'd decided to remain in Germany after leaving an earlier incarnation of Beggar's Opera, formed the band, together with keyboard players Veit Marvos and Steve Robinson, bassist Dieter Bauer, guitarist Gagey Mrozeck and drummer Konstantin Bommarius. When the band folded, the various members moved on to groups such as Kin Ping Meh, Karthago, Abacus, Emergency and others. The album is a vital addition to the collection of any serious rock music aficionado.