01). Lindisfarne - Lady Eleanor
From "Magic In The Air - Live" in 1978, recorded at the Newcastle City Hall in their home town of Newcastle, England on Christmas Eve, 1977. Originally known as The Downtown Fraction and also Brethren, the band was formed by vocalist/guitarist Alan Hull and bass player/violinist Rod Clements, together with vocalist/guitarist/mandolin players Simon Cowe and Ray Jackson, and drummer Ray Laidlaw. They changed their name to Lindisfarne in 1968 and released their debut album, "Nicely Out Of Tune", on the Charisma Record label in 1970. The band were very popular, and tracks such as "Meet Me On The Corner", "Fog On The Tyne" and the featured track were major hits. Laidlaw, Cowe and Clements left in 1973 to form Jack The Lad (who released four albums), and Lindisfarne split in 1974. The original quintet reformed in 1978 and they released ''Back and Forth" that year, with the featured live album shortly afterwards.
The band split in the mid 90's, when Alan Hull died on November 18, 1995, although they do reform on the odd occasion for their famed Christmas concerts.
02). Horslips - Trouble With a Capital "T"
Taken from "The Book Of Invasions - A Celtic Symphony", in 1976. Formed in Dublin, Ireland in the early 70's, this Celtic rock band featured Eamonn Carr on vocals and drums, Declan Sinnott on vocals and guitar (later replaced by Gus Guest and then John Fean), Charles O'Connor on violin, Barry Devlin on bass and vocals and Jim Lockhart on keyboards, violin & flute. They released their debut album, "Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part", in 1973 on their own Oats Record label. It did very well and they managed to secure a deal with RCA Records in the UK. They later toured Britain with Steeleye Span in support of their ''The Tain'' album. Their first conceptual album, it was based on an ancient Irish myth. RCA Records then dropped the band, but they continued to record under their own Oats label. Horslips went on to release albums well into the early 80's, and they became quite popular in the US.
The featured album was considered to be their best, although other albums to look out for are "Dancehall Sweethearts" (1974), "Aliens" (1977) and "The Man Who Built America" (1979)
03). Tempest - Dunmore Lassies
From "Turn Of The Wheel", in 1996. Based in the US and led by a Norwegian vocalist/mandolin/flute/bodhran player called Leif Sorbye, the band would appear to have been formed in the late 80's, with Mark Showalter on bass & keyboards, (later replaced by Ian Butler), Adolfo Lazo on percussion and Robert Wullenjohn on guitars & vocals, playing traditional Irish music with a rock feel! Their debut album, "Bootleg", was released on Heyday Records in 1991. Michael Mullen came in on fiddle on 1992's "Serrated Edge" album. In 1992, ''Sunken Treasures", an album of unreleased tracks from 1989 to 1992, was released on Firebird Records, as did "Surfing To Mecca" the following year, with Jon Berger in place of the departed Michael Mullen.
Tempest, who are not to be confused with Jon Hiseman's band of the same name, then signed to the prestigious Magna Carta label, and the featured album was the first for their new label. Michael Mullen was back with the band, and bassist Jay Nania had replaced Ian Butler. Subsequent albums for Magna Carta are "The Gravel Walk", "The 10th Anniversary Compilation", "Balance" and "Shapeshifter". New members include Jim "Hurricane" Hurley on fiddle, William Maxwell on bass and Todd Evans on guitars & harmony vocals.
04). Wolfstone - Gillies
Formed in Scotland in the late 80's, this (then) little known but very good band's music is best described as "a rousing and exciting union of Scottish traditional music and hi-tech rock". The band was comprised of Duncan Chisolm on fiddle, David Foster on bass and drums, Roger Niven on guitars, Stuart Eaglesham on rhythm guitar and Struan Eaglesham on keyboards. They released their eponymous album on the Celtic Music record label in the early 90's. They toured Europe extensively during the next year or so, gaining much experience. Pipe player Allan Wilson joined for "Wolfstone 2", (which is widely regarded as their best album), as did songwriter Ivan Drever, (replacing Roger Niven) who would later become the band's new leader.
Wolfstone were becoming better and better and more popular with each subsequent release. ''Unleashed", with guitarist Andy Murray as the new sixth member, was also an excellent album. Interestingly, the band still didn't have a fulltime drummer, relying on the services of guest musician John Henderson and also, at this stage, bass player Neil Hay, and these two also appeared on "The Chase", the next album. (Allan Wilson had left the band). "Year Of The Dog" (1994), with drummer Mop Youngson and bass player Wayne Mackenzie joining the Eaglesham brothers, Chisolm and Drever, was a particularly good effort, but it was "The Half Tail" (1996), from which the featured track was taken, with Stevie Saint on pipes, that must rate as one of their best albums.
Subsequent (known) albums from this great band who are definitely worthy of international acclaim and who have earned their notoriety as 'the thistle up the kilt of Celtic music', include "Pick Of The Litter" (Compilation - 1997), "This Strange Place" (1998), ''Seven" (1999), and the excellent live "Not Enough Shouting!", in 2000.
05). Beggars Opera - Classical Gas
One of the few covers Beggars Opera ever did. Their version of the Mason Williams classic is one of the best ever recorded, with Alan Park on keyboards, Colin Fairley on drums & vocals (later to move to String Driven Thing. He replaced Ray Wilson), Ricky Gardiner on guitars & vocals, Linnie Patterson (ex-Writing On The Wall) on lead vocals (replaced Martin Griffiths), Virginia Scott on mellotron & vocals and Gordon Sellar on bass & vocals. The track was taken from "Get Your Dog Off Me", in 1973.
Beggars Opera then folded in early 1974, although Ricky Gardiner and Gordon Sellar revived the band later that year, recording "Sagittary", together with Virginia Scott on keyboards, Colin Fairley on drums and Colin McFarlane on vocals. A Germany-only release (on the Jupiter label), the album was extremely difficult to find elsewhere. The band then split up once more, with Ricky Gardiner moving on to work with the likes of David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Beggars Opera then resurfaced in 1979, with Gardiner and Scott, together with vocalist Pete Scott and drummers Clem Cattini and Mike Travis. "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" was also released on the Jupiter label (both "Sagittary" and ''Beggars Can't Be Choosers" were released privately by Ricky Gardiner and Virginia Scott as ''Act Three'').
A seventh Beggars Opera album, the line-up of which is not 100% clear, called ''Lifeline", surfaced in 1980. It would appear that Gordon Sellar was involved, as were Alan Park, Linnie Patterson and Andy McCulloch (drums).
A final album of tracks recorded between 1980 and 1991, called "The Final Curtain", featuring Sellar, Patterson (who has since passed on) and Park, together with ex-Manfred Mann's Earthband bassist Colin Pattenden, keyboard player Lyndsay Bridgewater, vocalist Gordon Neville (ex-Alan Bown & Dragonfly), and drummer John Hollywood, was released in 1996.
Husband and wife Ricky Gardiner and Virginia Scott set up studios at home and composed pieces of music such as "The Flood", "Auschwitz" and "Precious Life", and they later formed Karuma (with Trevor Stainsby), releasing an album called ''Confluence". (Read up about this great Scottish band elsewhere on The RockIt Scientist website).
Visit the website: freespace.virgin.net/ricky.gardiner
06). Warhorse - I (Who Have Nothing)
Warhorse was formed by bass player Nick Simper, who had left Deep Purple, the band he helped form, back in 1969. Initially working with the likes of Buddy Britten and Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, he met keyboard Jon Lord whilst Simper was touring as one of The Flowerpot Men. Lord and Simper became founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, with Simper appearing on Purple's first three albums, "Shades of Deep Purple", "Book of Taliesyn" and "Deep Purple".
Before forming Warhorse, Simper worked with singer Marsha Hunt, who made him her band leader. He recruited guitarist Ged Peck (who he'd worked with in The Freddie Mack Band and in Johnny Kidd & The Pirates), together with drummer Roger Truth. Whilst he was featuring with Marsha Hunt, Simper was also working with The James Royal Set for the BBC, which included Albert Lee (later of Heads, Hands & Feet) and keyboard player Rick Wakeman, later of Strawbs and Yes fame. Simper's friend, The Who bass player John Entwistle, suggested that Simper start his own band that "would really knock people out"!
Simper then set about looking for musicians who would collectively become known as Warhorse. He approached many well known names, such as Pete Robinson, Mick Underwood, Albert Lee, Rick Wakeman and others, but he eventually decided to concentrate on musicians who weren't so well know. In came the aforementioned Ged Peck on guitar, together with Frank Wilson (ex-The Rumble, on keyboards), Mac Poole, from Marsha Hunt's Band, on drums, and a fantastic singer called Ashley Holt. The band signed to Vertigo Records and released their brilliant eponymous album in November 1970, which did very well in Europe.
Ged Peck then left Warhorse and the band started looking around for a replacement. John Eheridge (later of Soft Machine and Wolf fame), was a serious consideration, as was Adrian Ingram from Birmingham group Hannibal, but neither materialized. They settled instead on Peter Parks, previously of Black August, who slotted in perfectly with the direction Warhorse were taking. "Red Sea", (released in June 1972), from which the featured track, originally immortalized by Shirley Bassey, was taken, was equally as good as the debut, with some stunning guitar work from Parks.
Phonogram (Vertigo) had, in the meantime, dropped the band and Mac Poole had moved on to drum with Gong (he later appeared with Miller Anderson and Stan Webb in Broken Glass). Barney James came in as his replacement, and, although things were really starting to look up for the band, (they'd even recorded some tracks for a third album. These appear as bonus tracks on the CD re-issues of both albums), Warhorse finally called it a day in July 1974.
Ashley Holt joined Wild Turkey's Gary Pickford-Hopkins in Rick Wakeman's band, as did Barney James on drums. Nick Simper and Peter Parks formed Fandango, with Simper later appearing with Mick Underwood in the reformed Quartermass in the 90's and Frank Wilson joined the short-lived Ross.
In the few years that they were around, Warhorse, together with Atomic Rooster, Beggars Opera and others, were amongst the finest examples of the incredible musical talent that was coming out of the UK at the time. Both albums are essential additions to any rock aficionado's collection.
07). Grand Funk - People, Let's Stop The War
Formed in Flint, Michigan, in the US, in the late 60's, Grand Funk's roots go back to an early 60's band called The Jazz Masters, which featured drummer Don Brewer. The Jazz Masters were spotted by dj Terry Knight, who fancied himself as a band manager, singer and mentor. Knight convinced the band that they needed him as a singer and frontman, and when he joined them, they were renamed Terry & The Pack. Mark Farner then joined, initially as the bass player. Internal conflict later led to Knight being fired, and the band were renamed The Pack, with Farner taking over as vocalist and guitarist.
Knight was re-employed as the band's manager and Farner's old school mate, Mel Schacher, who'd been playing with ? and The Mysterians, was drafted in on bass. The name Grand Funk Railroad came from the title of a track Terry Knight had written. It was a play-off on an existing railway that ran through the US called Grand Trunk & Western Railway. They were offered a slot on the prestigious Atlanta Pop Festival, together with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker. The band went down a storm, receiving a standing ovation and playing several encores. It seemed that, in the punter's eyes, Grand Funk's no nonsense balls-to-the wall honest hard rock music was an instant hit. The press, though, hated the band with a passion, and they were slated by all and sundry. Little did the band know it, but they were being seriously done in by Terry Knight, who had told them that he would 'only help them on condition that he was allowed complete control as "manager, producer, press spokesman and musical mentor" '.
The band signed to EMI-Capitol Records and released their debut album, ''On Time", in 1970. A very drab and basic album, it was nevertheless well received by the band's army of fans. Subsequent albums such as ''Grand Funk" (1970, aka ''The Red Album" by many fans), ''Closer To Home" (1970), the brilliant "Live" album (1971), "Survival" (1971), and the featured album, "E Pluribus Funk",(1972, from where the featured track was taken), were all great and all charted particularly well.
Terry Knight, who was also looking after the interests of label mates Bloodrock, was relieved of his Svengali-like role at the end of 1971 and a period of legal instability ensued. The band had discovered that, even though they'd had many charting albums and singles and that they'd been selling out wherever they played, they had very little to show for their efforts financially, and they confronted Knight around the time "E Pluribus Funk" was recorded. The band then went on to work with producers such as Todd Rundgren, Jimmy Iovine and Frank Zappa, but their later albums, although all having their moments, paled in comparison to their first seven or so albums, and the band split in the mid 70's, with Don Brewer and keyboard player Craig Frost (who joined the band in 1973), forming Flint. Mark Farner became a reborn Christian and recorded a number of solo albums.
Grand Funk reformed for a series of albums in the early to mid 80's ("Grand Funk Lives" in 1981 and "What's Funk" in 1983), but these were not quite what Grand Funk fans were looking for. The band then folded and reformed in the mid to late 90's, releasing the awesome "Bosnia" double live album (covered elsewhere on The RockIt Scientist website).
Terry Knight was murdered on November 1st, 2004, after an argument with his daughter's boyfriend.
The featured track, incidentally, was featured on the first Dinosaur Days CD, released in 1999.
08). Alban Skinderai - Only You
A very promising young singer from Albania. (apparently in his early 20's). This song won a Youth Singer competition in Albania in 2004. Taken from "Breeze In The Desert", released in 2005.
Thanks to Loedie and Esther Voges for introducing me to this talent!
09). Tony Martin - Back Where I Belong
The title track from his debut solo album, released in 1992, and featuring musicians such as Brian May and Adrian Dawson on guitars, Nigel Glockler (Saxon) and Zak Starkey on drums, Neil Murray on bass, and a host of others. Vocalist/guitarist Tony Martin is best known for his work with Black Sabbath, who he joined in 1987. He was on and off with Sabbath for a few years during the late 80's and early 90's. He later worked with The Giuntini Project, The Cage, and also with Italian guitarist Dario Mollo. He recently released a new solo album called "Scream". He's undoubtedly one of the finest hard rock singers in the world, and make no mistake, he plays a mean guitar!
10). Axel Rudi Pell - Oceans Of Time
From "Oceans Of Time", in 1998, his 9th album. Axel Rudi Pell is a very good German guitarist who first started out with metal band Sinner, later to become known as Steeler, in the late 70's. He released about four albums with the band before embarking on a solo career in the late 80's. He's released quite a few albums to date, as well as a great live dvd called "Knight Treasures". He's very well known for his rock ballads. This album features very talented vocalist Johnny Gioeli, keyboard player Ferdy Doernberg, bass player Volker Krawczak and drummer Jorg Michael. Other albums worth checking out are "Nasty Reputation" (1991), "Black Moon Pyramid" (1996) and "Magic" (1997).
11). Brad - Time Of The Signs
From "High Cigar", in 2005. Brad is South African Brad Cunningham, the very talented brother of Clint & Co and Off The Edge singer, Clint Cunningham. He's a great singer (almost like Bruce Brookshire of Doc Holliday) and he also plays a great guitar. His strength is his songwriting - he really knows how to compose a good melodic rock and acoustic song!
The album, which features Marshall Harmse on keyboards and guitars, Steve Daniels on drums and Bartho van Zyl on bass, is available at gigs.
12). Tryst - Stone Cold Woman
Tryst is a very good South African blues/hard rock band, featuring guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Cedrick Hicks, bass player Ian Brady and drummer Fred McGinn. The band have been around for a few years, playing the gigs, and this debut album, "Ride", released in 2005, which is distributed by Universal Music, captures them at their best.
13). Ancient Influence - Marionette's Puppet
One of three tracks from this very talented young South African band who are influenced by bands and artists such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Nightwish, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica and others. The band was formed in 2003 by guitarist Riaan Coetzee, Henko Coetzee on drums and Izak Coetzee on rhythm guitar, with keyboard player Ria de Wet and bass player Hendri Viljoen joining about a year later. They've played a number of live gigs, and they're definitely a band to look out for.
14). The Invaders - Astral 3
Classic Psychedelic rock from a great but sadly short lived Cape Town based South African band. Originally recorded in 1970 and appearing on their sole album, ''There's A Light, There's A Way", the band is one of many to appear on the new CD released by Fresh Music called "Astral Daze - Psychedelic South African Rock - 1986 to 1972". The album was produced by Benjy Mudie of Rock of Ages on Radio 2000, and RockIt Scientist webmaster Brian Currin. Other bands featured are The Bats, Buzzard, Otis Waygood, Freedom's Children and others.
15). Heads, Hands & Feet - Send Me a Wire
From "Heads, Hands & Feet" in 1971, the debut album from this great UK country/rock outfit who evolved out of a band called "Poet & The One Man Band" in 1970. The band featured two great guitarists in Albert Lee and Ray Smith, together with bass player Chas Hodges, vocalist Tony Colton, drummer Pete Gavin and keyboard player Mike O'Neill. They released three great albums between 1971 and 1973, although a 4th "lost" album, "Home From Home", surfaced in the 90's. Interestingly, the featured album was issued as a single album in the UK, but as a double in the US. The CD that was issued in 1991 is fortunately the double album version!
The other albums worth checking out are the excellent "Tracks" (1972) and "Old Soldiers Never Die" (1973), all of which have been available on CD for quite some time now, as has a very rare and little-known about live album called "Road Show", which was recorded in London in 1972 and released in 1991.
Chas Hodges became half of the famous Chas and Dave duo. Albert Lee formed The Albert Lee Band, which included Hodges and Pete Gavin. Lee was also one of the featured guitarists on the excellent Green Bullfrog album, together with Big Jim Sullivan, Ritchie Blackmore and others.
16). Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Carry On
From "Deja Vu", in 1970, one of just a few albums to feature David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young together. The band first came together as Crosby, Stills & Nash (ex-The Hollies) in 1969 before recruiting ex-Buffalo Springfield guitarist, Canadian Neil Young, that same year, and they featured at the Woodstock festival, where they established the format of playing two sets, one acoustic and one electric, which showed off their fantastic musicianship. They also supported the Rolling Stones that year at their ill-fated Altamont concert. The band were adopted as hippy flagbearers, and they released the featured album after winning the coverted "Best Newcomers" award at The Grammys.
"Deja Vu" was one of the biggest sellers in 1970 and was regarded as one of the best albums of the 70's, with sterling contributions from each member. The double live "Four Way Street" album, released in April 1971, was a fantastic album that revealed the group's diversity in contrasting acoustic and electric sets.
The band then split, with the various members going on to various other solo and group projects, and a long-awaited second studio album, "American Dream", finally surfaced in 1988, with the "Looking Forward" album surfacing a few years ago.
17). Midnight Circus - I Had a Dream
An obscure folky progressive German duo comprising Christian Bollman on vocals, guitars, trumpet and recorders and Torsten Schmidt on vocals and guitars, with backing from Thomas Engel on drums, Veit Madaus on keyboards, Dave Crocket on bass, Peter Hauke on drums & percussion and guitarists Rainer Marz and Jan van Roosendahl. An excellent self-titled album with English lyrics, it was released on the Bellaphon label in 1972, and is quite rare and worth quite a packet on the collectors market.
18). It's a Beautiful Day - White Bird
One of the classic tracks of the 70's. The band was formed in San Francisco in the late 60's by classically trained violinist David LaFlamme, previously of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. Vocalist Patti Santos was one of the finest singers around at the time. The other members were Val Fuentes on drums, Hal Wagenet on guitar (later replaced by Bill Gregory) and Mitch Holman on bass, with LaFlamme's wife, Linda, on keyboards. Hired as the opening act for Cream, they released their self-titled debut album in 1969, and the featured track, which was originally released as a single from the album, was a major hit for them. The follow-up album, "Marrying Maiden" (1970) was equally as good as the debut, and the "Choice Quality Stuff/Anytime'' album in 1971 set the stage for the excellent live "It's a Beautiful Day at Carnegie Hall", released in 1972, from which the featured track was taken.
Later albums such as "It's a Beautiful Day Today" and "1001 Nights" paled in comparison and the band split in the mid 70's, with Patti Santos forming Pharoes Whistle in 1975. Later members Bud Cockerell (bass) and David Jenkins (guitar) became founding members of AOR outfit Pablo Cruise. Santos and Cockrell also teamed up in "Cockrell and Santos" in 1978. She was tragically killed in a car crash on December 14th,1989.
19). Bloodgood - Top Of The Mountain
US Christian metal band Bloodgood were formed in Washington by bass player Michael Bloodgood and guitarist David Zaffiro in the mid 80's, together with vocalist Les Carlsen. Influenced by Iron Maiden, Saxon and other metal acts, they released about six albums and folded in the early 90's. The track was taken from "Out Of The Darkness" in 1989, which featured Paul Jackson on guitars and Kevin Whistler, (who replaced Mark Welling), on drums. David Zaffiro released a few solo albums.
20). Legend Seven - Refugee
From "Blind Faith" in 1993. This US Christian rock band were originally known as Legend, which featured Mike Jacobs on guitars & backing vocals, Billy Williams on drums, Andy Denton on lead/backing vocals and Randy Ray on bass & backing vocals. and they released one album in 1992 under that name. Undoubtedly one of the better "White Metal" bands around, they unfortunately seemed to fade from the scene, only to resurface the following year as Legend Seven, with the same members. No trace can be found of the band, nor have any other (known) albums been released. A great pity - they were a really good band!
21). White Heart - His Heart Was Always In It
From "Tales of Wonder" in 1992. This US Christian Rock band were formed in the early 80's by lead vocalist & keyboard player Mark Gersmehl and guitarist Billy Smiley. Brothers David and Dann Huff (on drums & guitars respectively), Steve Green on vocals and Gary Lunn, were the other original members. They recorded three albums for Word Records "White Heart", ''Vital Signs" and ''Hot Line'', with drummer Chris McHugh and guitarist Gordon Kennedy joining during the "Hot Line" period.
White Heart then moved to Sparrow Records and released a number of great albums for the label, namely "Don't Wait For The Movie" in 1986, "Emergency Broadcast" in 1987 and ''Freedom'' in 1989, with new members Rick Florian on vocals and bassist Tommy Sims. A very hard working band, they then moved to Star Song Records and they released three albums for the label, namely "Powerhouse" in 1990, the featured album the following year, and ''Highlands", one of their best albums, in 1993. Two compilations under the title of ''Nothing But The Best", 'Rock Classics' and 'Radio Classics', were released in 1994.
The mid to late 90's saw the release of "Inside" in 1995 and "Redemption" in 1997. It would seem as if the band have split as no new (known) albums have since surfaced.