Logo designed by Brian Currin and Peter Hanmer
Search Web
Search Rock.co.za
Search Dinosaur Days

Subscribe to our newsletter

SA Rock Encylopedia This website is part of the South African Rock Encyclopedia

Rhythm Online - South African Online Music Store
Rhythm Records
Online Music Store

Search the world
for your music!

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.


Friday 17 February 2006 / Tuesday 21 February 2006

01). Colosseum - Valentyne Suite (January's Search)

From "The Valentyne Suite" in 1969, their second album. Colosseum, who were formed in 1968 by ex-Graham Bond Organisation members, drummer Jon Hiseman and sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, were at the forefront of the fusion of blues, progressive rock and jazz in the UK in the late 60's/early 70's. The initial line-up also included keyboard player Dave Greenslade, guitarist/vocalist James Litherland, bass player Tony Reeves and second guitarist Jim Roche. This sextet appeared on the band's debut album, "Those Who Are About To Die Salute You", which was released on the Fontana label in 1969.

The band then signed to Vertigo Records and released what was to become one of their best and best known albums. The very first album to be released on the fledgling Vertigo label (catalogue number VO1), "The Valentyne Suite", which was recorded without Jim Roche, featured the ambitious 16 minute title track which was almost to become the band's "signature tune". James Litherland then left to form the excellent but sadly short-lived Mogul Thrash (with bass player John Wetton and future Average White Band members, Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan) and he was replaced by ex-Bakerloo guitarist Dave 'Clem' Clempson. Tony Reeves was replaced by Mark Clarke and Chris Farlowe (real name John Deighton, of The Thunderbirds fame) came in on vocals.

This new line-up recorded the excellent "Daughter Of Time" album (also on Vertigo) in 1970. Although this album reached number 23 on the UK albums charts, it proved to be their final album for Vertigo and they moved to Bronze Records, who wasted no time in putting out a double live album which consisted of six long tracks recorded in Manchester and Brighton during March 1971. Colosseum unfortunately folded at the end of 1971 and Bronze Records released the compilation "The Collector's Colosseum" album that year.

Jon Hiseman went on to form Tempest with Mark Clarke, vocalist Paul Williams and guitarist Allan Holdsworth, (Clarke later also joined Uriah Heep), Dave Greenslade formed his own band Greenslade with Tony Reeves, Chris Farlowe joined Atomic Rooster, Clem Clempson joined Humble Pie (replacing Peter Frampton) and (the now late) Dick Heckstall-Smith recorded a solo album (he later worked with the Hamburg Blues Band and also released a number of solo jazz albums). Hiseman then revived Colosseum, albeit with a more jazz/rock slant than the original. Calling it Colosseum 2, this band featured Gary Moore, Don Airey, John Mole and Mike Starrs.

The Colosseum line-up of Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Clempson, Farlowe, Clarke an Greenslade reformed in the 90's and began a series of live concerts in Germany. A live album, "Colosseum Lives", was released in the mid 90's, and the band have since released a further few albums, as well as an excellent dvd. The are still highly regarded and respected as one of the UK's most influential bands.

02). Birth Control - Mr. Hero

From "Rebirth'', in 1974, the 4th album from one of Germany's oldest bands, who are still around today. Formed in Cologne in the late 60's as a student rock band, Birth Control chose their name as a stab at Pope Paul's anti-birth control policy. After a number of line-up changes, their eponymous album, with guitarist/vocalist Bruno Frenzel, drummer/vocalist Bernd Noske, bass player Bernd Koschmidder and keyboard player Reinhold Sobotta, was released in 1970. The album, released on Metronome Records, came in a special mock birth control pill case type cover. Musically, they could best be described as progressive with a psychedelic slant. Later albums such as ''Operation" and ''Hoodoo Man'' were similar yet different in styles, which demonstrated a very talented band quite comfortable to experiment with different ideas.

The featured album found the band crossing into brass rock territory. It was also the first album to feature new members Zeus B. Held on keyboards and Peter Foller on bass and vocals. Next up was the excellent double "Live" album, released in 1974. By now, Birth Control had established a reputation as one of Germany's best rock bands, with their instantly recognizable 'hit' "Gamma Ray" doing quite well for them in the US and the UK. They then recorded two very good prog albums, "Plastic People" and "Backdoor Possibilities" in 1975 and 1976 respectively.

The Birth Control story from here on is fairly well documented elsewhere on The RockIt Scientist website, so you can read up on the band there. Suffice to say that any self-respecting lover of progressive/hard rock should have at least a few Birth Control albums in his/her collection! And Bernd Noske is one helluva drummer - just check out the "Kraut Rock Meeting" dvd that was released through SPV in 2005!

03). Emergency - Gimme Some Lovin'

Although classified as a "Kraut Rock" band, Emergency's roots actually go back to Prague, Czechoslovakia, with jazz musician, sax player/flautist Hannes Berka, who moved to the US in the mid 60's, hoping to find fame and fortune there. Whilst he was there, he was introduced to the world of brass rock, but becoming disillusioned, he moved back to Europe, where he met some fellow Czech's in Munich, Germany, who were touring with a production of ''Hair". They formed Emergency, with the sole German being drummer Udo Lindenberg.

The band signed to CBS Records and they released their self-titled debut album, from which the featured cover of the Spencer Davis classic was taken, in 1971. Joining Berka and Lindenberg were Jiri Matousek on keyboards, Milos Reddy on vocals, Barrie Newby on guitar and Otto Bezloja on bass, with guest Dusko Goykovic on trumpet. Lindenberg then left Emergency and he was replaced by John Redpath, as did Newby, who was replaced by Frank Diez (ex-Armaggedon and Atlantis) and the band released their final album for CBS, called ''Entrance", in 1972. Drawing influences from US bands such as Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears and European bands such as Keef Hartley Band, Emergency's style of brass rock was very refreshing and exciting and the band showed much promise.

Two further albums, this time on Brain Records, were released in 1973 and 1974, with the band moving in a slightly more progressive direction, which suited them perfectly. Both "Get Out To The Country" (the title track of which appears on the rare 'Kraut Rock' triple album that was released in the early to mid 70's) and ''No Compromise'', were very good offerings from the band which now featured Bernd Knaak on drums, Yerzy Ziembrowski on bass, Richard Palmer-Jones on guitars and Veit Marvos on keyboards. The band unfortunately folded in the mid 70's, and a fifth album, essentially a compilation, called ''Hideaway", was released in 1980.

Germany had its fair share of brass rock band such as Altona, Creative Rock, Thrice Mice, Out Of Focus and many others, but Emergency was definitely up there with the best of them.

04). Boulevard Blues Band - Something In My Eye

From "About Time", in 2004. One of the better South African blues rock bands. Based in Cape Town, the band is comprised of rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dale Collins, lead guitarist Richard Pryor, bass player Trevor Cranfield, drummer Graeme Abbott, Greg Smith on harmonica and percussion and Dr. John Mostert on lead vocals. The odd self-penned track aside, the album features fantastic covers of tracks by famous bluesmen such as Snowy White, BB King, Johnny Guitar Watson and others. They're apparently an excellent live band and have quite a large following.

05). Doyle Bramhall - The Hunter

This cover of the famous Booker T, Steve Cropper et al - penned number (also covered by Free), was taken from his "Bird Nest On The Ground" album, released in 1994. Doyle Bramhall is an accomplished Texan vocalist/drummer who discovered the blues in the late 50's. One of his first bands was The Chessmen, who he joined in 1964, and it was through this band that he worked with Jimmy Vaughan, the late Stevie Ray's brother. The band went on to open for the likes of Eric Burdon & The Animals and Jimi Hendrix. Bramhall left The Chessmen in 1968 and moved on, playing with The Beefeaters before forming a blues band called Texas, which featured the young Stevie Ray on bass (although he, as is commonly known, later took up the guitar and became one of the most famous bluesmen in the world). This new band was called Texas Storm, although this was shortened to Storm after the band relocated to Austin, Texas.

Storm's new home in Austin was very open and accepting to and of the band's music and they became very popular, playing at a club called One Kite. Bramhall later featured with Marc Benno in The Nightcrawlers, which was a very good blues and soul outfit and which was managed by Bill Hamm of ZZ Top fame, and he also featured with the Rocky Hill Band and The Millionaires.

This CD, which features Tommy Shannon on bass, Jimmy Vaughan on guitar and Bramhall's son, Doyle Bramhall II, amongst others, is a fantastic debut solo album from one of the most respected bluesmen in the world.

06). Gwyn Ashton - Cold As Ice (Tribute To Albert Collins)

From ''Fang It", in 2000. Australian blues rock guitarist/vocalist Gwyn Ashton's albums are unfortunately not that easy to find, unless you do the surfing bit on the net. He would appear be strongly influenced by Rory Gallagher, from his voice to his beat-up Strat, to the use of some of the late Irish guitarist's band members on this particular album. With Gerry McAvoy on bass & backing vocals and Brendan O'Neill on drums, Ashton proves to be a very competent guitarist who's equally at home playing a Gibson as he is playing a Strat.

Other albums to look out for from Gwyn Ashton are "Beg, Borrow & Steel" (1996) and ''Feel The Heat" (1999).

07). Kansas - Play The Game Tonight

One of a number of major hits from one of the most influential prog bands of all time. Taken from "Vinyl Confessions" in 1982, this track was almost as popular as their ''Carry On Wayward Son" mega-hit. The album, which did very well on the US charts, and was certainly one of their best efforts, was the first to feature new keyboard player/vocalist John Elefante, who'd been drafted to replace Streets-bound Steve Walsh. Elefante was joined by original members Kerry Livgren (guitars/keyboards), Phil Ehart (drums), Robbie Steinhardt (vocals/violin) bass player Dave Hope and guitarist Rich Williams.

A further album, ''Drastic Measures", was released the following year, but the band then placed themselves in a state of temporary suspension from all live and recording work. In the meantime, Steve Walsh recorded two great studio albums and a live album with Streets between 1983 and 1985. John Elefante went on to work with Christian rock outfit Mastedon. Kerry Livgren, arguably one of the finest songwriters/multi-instrumentalists to emerge from the US, continued his solo career that he began in the early 80's.

Kansas reformed in 1986 with Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse adding his wealth of talent to a band that never really failed to deliver the goods. Steve Walsh was back, together with Streets bass player, Billy Greer, who replaced Dave Hope. Two further albums, ''Power", and ''In The Spirit Of Things", were released in 1986 and 1988 respectively. Whilst not being prime "Leftoverture/ Point Of Know Return"- era Kansas, both albums had some fantastic moments, but would appear to have been sadly overlooked by fans.

Kansas then unfortunately did their now familiar disappearing act again, only resurfacing in 1993 with the excellent "Live at The Whiskey" album. Two new members, Greg Robert (who appeared as a guest on "In The Spirit Of Things"), was on keyboards, as was David Ragsdale, who replaced Robbie Steinhardt on violin and guitar. This line-up also featured on the follow-up studio album, " Freaks Of Nature", which came out in 1995. Later albums such as "Always Never The Same" (a write-up on which features elsewhere on The RockIt Scientist website) and "Somewhere To Elsewhere", were also fantastic releases and definitely deserve a mention and a listen, as does the double live "Device, Voice, Drum" album (also released on dvd).

Legacy Records also released two Kansas compilations, a double CD box set in 1994 and a very well compiled and researched triple CD box set in 2004 called ''Sail On - The 30th Anniversary Collection", a fitting tribute to one of the truly great US bands.

08). Styx - Crystal Ball

The title track of their 6th album, and 2nd for A & M Records, released in 1976. This was the first album to feature vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Tommy Shaw, who replaced original member John Curulewski, and it was from this point onwards that Styx's fortunes took a turn for the better (popularity-wise, that is!).

Formed in Chicago in the late 60's, Styx, (who are widely believed to be responsible for the development of the term "Pomp {as in pompous} Rock"!) evolved out of two bands, Tradewinds and T.W.4. The initial line-up of Curulewski, brothers Chuck and John Panozzo (on bass and drums respectively), guitarist/vocalist James Young and vocalist/keyboard player Dennis De Young, renamed themselves after the fabled river from Greek mythology and signed to RCA Records subsidiary Wooden Nickel. They released four albums for the label, ''Styx''(1972), "Styx II(1973), ''The Serpent Is Rising"(1973) and "Man Of Miracles"(1974), all of which had very good moments. (They had a major hit with "Lady", from "Styx II", funnily enough, in 1975, two years after it was originally released). Incidentally, if you missed out on these early Styx gems, all four Wooden Nickel albums were released on a double cd compilation called "The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings" a few years ago.

The band then signed to A & M Records in 1975 and released "Equinox", which proved to be the last album to feature John Curulewski (who seemed to disappear fro the music scene). The unheralded Tommy Shaw brought a whole new dimension to Styx's sound. A very gifted vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, he slotted in perfectly with what the band were doing and they went on to release a number of charting albums during the late 70's and early 80's. "The Grand Illusion", released in 1977, stayed on the US charts for two years, with sales in excess of three million copies. Subsequent albums such as "Pieces of Eight"(1978), "Cornerstone"(1979), the conceptual "Paradise Theatre" with its luxurious packaging (1980) and 1983's "Kilroy Was Here", all sold well. The band's power and popularity was captured on the great live "Caught In The Act" album in 1984.

Styx then folded in 1984, with Tommy Shaw recording a couple of solo albums before moving on to form Damn Yankees with guitarist/vocalist Ted Nugent, bassist Jack Blades and drummer Michael Cartellone in 1990. Both Dennis De Young and James Young released solo albums, but these were largely ignored.

Styx then reformed in 1990, with Glen Burtnick (who'd worked with Neil Schon, Jan Hammer and others) in place of Tommy Shaw. "Edge Of The Century" was released in 1990, but the band folded again. It would be almost seven years before the serpent would rise again and the Paradise would re-open for business.....

The "classic" Styx line-up of Dennis De Young, James Young, Tommy Shaw and Chuck Panozzo, together with new drummer Todd Sucherman (he replaced John Panozzo, who died of cirrhosis of the liver on July 16, 1996), reformed in 1996. This line-up embarked on a sold out tour of the US that year, recording a double live called ''Return To Paradise'' at the Rosemont Horizon in their hometown of Chicago that year. Styx were back with a serious bang - they were sounding tighter and more energetic than ever. Their first studio album in nine years, "Brave New World", with the aforementioned line-up, was released in 1999. The band then collaborated and toured with old mates REO Speedwagon, and an album called "Arch Allies", which featured Styx doing a few REO numbers and vice-versa, as well as the two bands on stage together, came out in 2000. A live dvd of the concerts was also released. Two further live albums, "At The River's Edge" and "Styxworld Live 2001", have also since been released. (It would appear that the long standing feud between Dennis De Young and the rest of the band flared up again, and he left Styx at the end of the 90's. He was replaced by Lawrence Gowan. Glen Burtnick rejoined the band, on bass, guitar and vocals)

And then, just to prove the old adage that you can't keep a good band down, Styx released their finest studio album since "The Grand Illusion": "Cyclorama", released in 2003 on CMC International Records, was the first to feature the band as the sextet of Young, Sucherman, Gowan, Shaw, Panozzo and Burtnick, and it really was a case of Styx going back to their roots. This album is a must for any Styx fan!

The band's most recent release was a bit of a surprise for die-hard fans. Featuring new bassist Ricky Phillips, (ex-Bad English), "Big Bang Theory", a covers album, was released on Frontiers Records in 2005. It may seem weird that a band like Styx would cover tracks such as "Can't Find My Way Home", "I Am The Walrus", "Locomotive Breath" and others, but they do it very well!

09). Journey - Separate Ways

From "Frontiers" in 1983. One of rock's most famous and successful acts. Journey were formed in 1973 by two ex- Santana members, vocalist/guitarist Neil Schon and vocalist/keyboard player Greg Rolie, together with ex-Steve Miller Band bass player Ross Valory and ex-Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, with 5th member George Tickner joining later on vocals and rhythm guitar. Prince was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar (ex-John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Frank Zappa's Mother of Invention). The band signed to CBS Records and released their eponymous album in 1975.

Journey's early material is arguably their best (with apologies to Steve Perry fans!). They were an incredibly tight and fluid unit who's music tended to cross over the boundaries between jazz, hard rock and progressive rock - a stunning combination! Tickner left after the debut album and the band continued as a quartet for a few more years, releasing great albums such as "Look Into The Future"(1976) and ''Next''(1977).

Vocalist Steve Perry (ex-Alien Project) joined Journey in 1978, and the band's musical direction changed quite dramatically. The possessor of one of the most unique voices in rock, Perry's presence in the band, combined with the flawless musicianship of Schon, Rolie, Valory and Dunbar (later replaced by Steve Smith), brought them almost instant stardom. The first album to feature Perry, ''Infinity", released in 1978, featured some of their best known tracks, such as "Wheel In The Sky" and "Lights", both of which were mega-hits. The band went from strength to strength with the release of each subsequent release. They were also a fantastic live act, as demonstrated on their excellent live "Captured"(1981) album.

Greg Rolie announced his intention to leave the band in the early 80's. He was replaced by Jonathan Cain, previously of The Babys. Cain was also an excellent songwriter and his contribution to Journey's continued success can't be overemphasized. The featured album was undoubtedly one of Journey's best albums and it seemed as if the band would go on forever. Unfortunately, though, after one further album, called "Raised On Radio"(1986), the band folded in 1988. Rolie released a couple of solo albums, as did Neil Schon, who went on to work with many different musicians on his various solo efforts (Rolie and Schon would later team up again in the Santana-esque Abraxas Pool in the late 90's). Steve Perry also released a couple of well received solo albums. Schon and Cain formed Bad English with John Waite, drummer Deen Castronovo and bass player Ricky Phillips. They released two very well received albums between 1989 and 1991.

Journey then reformed in the mid 90's and released the critically acclaimed "Trial By Fire" in 1996. The magic that made this band such a force in the melodic rock world was still there, but, as it turned out, Perry would later leave the band and the rest of the members now had the almost impossible task of trying to replace someone with a voice as unique as that of Steve Perry. Steve Smith also left to concentrate on his work with his jazz/rock outfit Vital Information. Perry and Cain's Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo joined the band (what a geat drummer THIS chap is!) and they apparently went through quite a few auditions before they found a suitable replacement for Perry.

And find him they did! From the bands Tall Tales and Tyketto came Steve Augeri, a man with a fantastic vocal range who handled Journey's extensive back catalogue of hits effortlessly (as captured on the brilliant "Journey Live 2000" dvd). The new line-up put out the well received "Arrival" album in 2001 and the five track "Red 13" EP in 2002, with the latest offering, "Generations", recapturing the glory days of this great band.

10). Judas Priest - The Hellion/Electric Eye

Taken from "Screaming For Vengeance", in 1982, when the band were really at their peak and were playing to sold out venues across the globe. The band had come a long way since the days when they were formed in Birmingham, England, in the late 60's by bass player Ian Hill and guitarist Ken 'K.K.' Downing. The initial line-up also featured Alan Atkins on vocals and John Ellis on drums. The name Judas Priest, which was from a Bob Dylan song called "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest", came from Atkins, who's earlier band had the same name.

Alan Moore replaced John Ellis, with Chris Campbell, in turn, replacing Moore. Ex-theatrical engineer Rob Halford came in on vocals, and a second guitarist, Glen Tipton (ex-Flying Hat Band), joined the band. Halford's drummer friend John Hinch (they'd both been in a band called Hiroshima) joined and Judas Priest embarked on a tour of The Netherlands and Germany in 1974 before signing to Gull Records. Their debut album, "Rocka Rolla", was released later that year. Hinch then left the band, replaced by the returning Alan Moore, and the band appeared at the 1975 Reading Festival, which introduced them to a larger audience.

Further problems with drummers (Alan Moore left for good, to be replaced by first Simon Phillips and then Les Binks) ensued, but the band went on to release a couple of excellent albums, namely ''Sad Wings Of Destiny"(1976), their second and last album for Gull Records, and "Sin After Sin", their first for new label, CBS Records. The band then toured the US and went down a storm, with their "Stained Class"(1978) album doing very well there. Further albums such as "Killing Machine"(1978), "Unleashed In The East"(1979), ''British Steel"(1980) (featuring new drummer, Dave Holland, formerly of Trapeze), and "Point Of Entry"(1981), were all very well received, with "British Steel" reaching number 3 on the UK charts.

The period surrounding the featured album was phenomenally successful for Priest and they had a massive hit with "You Got Another Thing Comin", which ultimately resulted in the album reaching platinum status in the US. They went on to release albums of a consistently high standard during the mid to late 80's, but by the time 1990's "Painkiller" had been released, Scott Travis (ex-Racer X), had replaced Dave Holland. Rob Halford later left the band to form his own band "Fight", and later the excellent Halford (the band), and Downing, Tipton, Hill and Travers were left with the daunting task of trying to replace one of the best frontmen and voices in metal.

They settled on "Ripper" Owens, a longtime Priest fan who knew every song backwards and who slotted in quite nicely with the band. He appeared on "Jugulator" in 1997, on the fantastic double live " '98 Live Meltdown", which came out in 1998 and on 2001's ''Demolition" album. A serious screamer in the Halford mould, Owens is actually a damn fine vocalist, and he can be quite happy with and proud of his contributions to Priest's music in the few years that he was with the band.

It would be three years before the moment all Priest fans had been waiting for: The Return of Halford! The band put aside their differences and joined forces, releasing the awesome ''Angel Of Retribution" in 2005, with the bonus dvd of live material from their "Reunited" summer tour of 2004. Ripper Owens is good, but Halford is just too awesome for words!

Priest have it all: a dynamic frontman in Halford, a killer rhythm section in Hill and Travis and possibly the best and most respected twin axe attack in metal in Downing and Tipton.

The Priest is back - you better believe it!

11). The Quill - Grand Canyon

From "Silver Haze" in 1998. One of the many fantastic bands to emerge from the flourishing Swedish hard/stoner rock scene. Blatantly influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and others, the members of this powerful quartet are George Atlagic on drums, Christian Carlsson on guitars, Magnus Ekwall on vocals and Roger Nilsson on bass. The band have since released at least three further albums, with "The Quill"(1999) and ''Voodoo Caravan"(2001) also worth a listen.

12). Nevada Beach - Back For Blood

Taken from "Zero Day", in 1990. A bit of a mystery band, but what a great band they were! Unfortunately info on this US bluesy hard rock outfit is a tad difficult to come by. They would appear to have been formed in the late 80's by vocalist/guitarist Hank Decken (who sounds remarkably like Ozzy at times!), together with Mal Stevens (replaced by Tony Rivers) on bass, John Murphy on drums and Geoff Safford on rhythm guitar and background vocals.

They released a self-titled five track EP on Metal Blade Records (which featured a great version of Angel City's "Marseilles") in 1990, closely followed by the featured album the same year, also on Metal Blade Records. The album was brimful of some seriously hot and catchy AC/DC-like riffs, with some great drumming and vocals, and it's a mystery why they just seemed to fade into obscurity.

One of the great blues/hard rock albums of the early 90's, well worth looking out for.

13). Capability Brown - No Range

Especially for Shiloh Noone of Fine Music Radio in the Cape - it's weird how we seem to think of the same bands at the same time!

This UK progressive folk/rock outfit were formed in the early seventies by bassist/vocalist Kenny Rowe, previously of 60's pop outfit The Moments (which featured Steve Marriott), together with vocalist/bassist/guitarist Tony Ferguson, keyboard player/guitarist/vocalist Dave Nevin, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Grahame White, vocalist Joe Williams and drummer/keyboard player Roger Willis (talk about everybody playing everybody's instruments!).

Signed to the famous Charisma label, the band released two great albums, "From Scratch", in 1972, from which the featured track was taken, and "Voice", the following year. A compilation album called "Liar" was released in 1976. Their acoustic moments were fantastic, but when this band let rip on their more progressive pieces, they absolutely killed!

14). Unicorn - Bullseye Bill

This UK band just HAD to be good, so much so that Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmore produced some of their music and even played on some of their albums! A country/rock band, they could quite easily be compared to US bands such as The Lost Gonzo Band and Poco. Initially formed in the early 70's by guitarists/vocalists Ken Baker and Trevor Mee, together with bass player/vocalist Pat Martin and drummer Peter Perrier, they released four very pleasant albums that have stood the test of time.

The debut album, "Uphill All The Way", was released on Transatlantic Records in 1971. The follow-up album, "Blue Pine Trees" released in 1974 on Charisma Records, featured Kevin Smith in place of Trevor Mee. The third album, "Too Many Crooks" (released as ''Unicorn II" in the US), from which the featured track was taken, was released in 1976 on EMI's Harvest Record label, as was their final album, ''One More Tomorrow", in 1977. Fifth member Chris Pidgeon came in on keyboards on the final two albums. Unicorn sadly split in the late 70's.

15). Daddy Longlegs - Please Believe Me

From "Oakdown Farm", in 1971, their second album, and their first effort for Vertigo Records. Formed in the US in 1968, the band featured Kurt Palomaki on bass and clarinet, Steve Hayton on guitar and vocals and Clif Carrison on drums. They moved to England in 1969 when they were promised work in movies, but when this didn't materialize, they signed to Warner Brothers Records, having recruited Mo Armstrong on vocals (and Steve Miller helping out on keyboards). This line-up recorded the band's eponymous album, which was released in 1970.

Mo Armstrong and Steve Hayton then left the band (with the latter joining guitarist/vocalist Mick Softtley) and they were replaced by Gary ''Norton" Holderman and Pete Arnesen respectively. The line-up of Carrison, Palomaki, Arnesen and Holderman signed to Vertigo Records and Daddy Longlegs were effectively the first US band to appear on this prestigious progressive rock label. The album has some fantastic moments, varying between jazz, folk and rock.

Pete Arnesen would later team up with bass player Tim Wheatley (from Vertigo stablemates Gracious), and they formed Taggett with ex-Greatest Show on Earth vocalist/guitarist Colin Horton-Jennings in 1974. (Prior to this, both Arnesen and Palomaki had a short stint with Dick Morrissey's If, appearing on their ''Double Diamond" album in 1973). Daddy Longlegs then moved to Polydor Records and they released their third album, ''Three Musicians", in 1972. The band then released their final album, "Shifting Sands", the same year, before folding for good.

16). Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys - Riff Raff

This interesting US country/rock/blues outfit, who's debut album, "The Street Giveth And The Street Taketh Away" (Polydor Records - 1969), was produced by Jimi Hendrix, were originally formed on the US east coast in the late 60's. The initial line-up featured Bob Smith (keyboards & vocals), Charlie Chin (guitar & vocals, later replaced by Paul Johnson), Roy Michaels (bass, vocals & guitar), Mike Equine (drums & vocals), Larry Packer (vocals & guitar). The band regularly opened for Hendrix at his concerts, including his now famous concert at the L.A.Forum.

By the time the featured album, "Albion Doo Wah", was released (1970), violin/mandolin player & guitarist Jay Unger had joined as the sixth member. The band had developed into a tight, cohesive unit and they were sounding really good. They then shortened their name to Cat Mother and released two further albums, "Cat Mother" in 1972 (arguably their best album), and "Last Chance Dance" the following year.

17). Stream of Passion - Deceiver

Another quality progressive act that features the fantastic writing and musical talents of Dutch guitarist/vocalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen of Ayreon, Star One and others, fame. The band also features the stunning vocal talents of Marcela Bovio and guitarist Lori Linstruth, the roses amongst the thorns in this very promising prog metal band. Alejandro Millan is on piano, Davy Mickers is on drums and Johan van Stratum is on bass, all of whom do justice to Lucassen's songwriting, which is always out of the top drawer. "Embrace The Storm", released on InsideOut Records towards the end of 2005, is a fine example of the depths that this kind of melodic metal can reach. Highly recommended!

18). House of Spirits - Keep Me From Dreaming

Germany's answer to Queensryche! That's the best description of this melodic metal act who would appear to have been formed in the early to mid 90's. The band featured the well traveled Jorg Michael on drums, Uwe Baltrusch on guitar, Martin Hirsch on bass and Olaf Bilic on vocals. Released on GUN Records in 1994, ''Turn Of The Tide" is a very competent album of well constructed grandiose melodic hard rock numbers. The Queensryche influence is very apparent and the album is a fitting tribute to the style of technical metal introduced to rock by this legendary band. House of Spirits released a very good album called ''Psychospere" in 1999, with Benjamin Schippritt on guitar in place of Uwe Baltrusch.

19). Alias Eye - Wasteland

From "Field Of Names", in 2001. This excellent German prog rock quintet features the vocal talents of Philip Griffiths, son of Beggar's Opera vocalist Martin Griffiths. Philip, together with bass player Frank Fischer, drummer Ludwig Benedek, guitarist Matthias Richter and keyboard player Vytas Lemke, put this great outfit together and signed to the Dutch DVS Record label. Martin Griffiths guests on one of the tracks ("The Readiness Is All") and it's definitely a case of a chip off the old block, as it's almost impossible to tell the two apart! Brilliant stuff from a very good band who released a second album called "A Different Point Of View" a few years ago. Philip Griffiths has also featured with the likes of Poor Genetic Material and others.

20). Eve Moon - Want You So Bad

From her self-titled debut album in 1981. Eve Moon is very talent US rock vocalist/guitarist who seems to have come out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly. Her album features Jimmy Ripp on guitars, Tom Wolk on bass, Bob Riley on drums and Elaine Caswell on additional percussion.

She'd previously featured with Mink Deville on his "Le Chat Bleu" album in 1980, but other than that, no trace can be found of this lady rocker, who's featured track is one of the best rock ballads ever.

21). Praying Mantis - Lovers To The Grave

Undoubtedly one of the best bands of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) scene. The Praying Mantis story is long and drawn out and it involves a multitude of line-up changes.

This London-based band centered around the Neophytou brothers, Tino (guitar/vocals) and Chris (bass), who later shortened their surname to Troy. Both schooled in the art of Flamenco guitar, they soon developed a taste for heavier rock music, with Tino forming his first semi-serious band in the early 70's. Moving ahead to the late 70's, Praying Mantis was born and they released their first demo, a three track tape that largely pre-empted the NWOBHM boom that was to dominate the UK scene for the next few years. The tape found its way to Neal Kay, a prominent deejay who ran 'Heavy Metal Soundhouse' (England's first rock disco), and he was blown away by the band, so much so that the songs went on to become a permanent fixture on his playlist for months to come.

Various EP's were released, and the band also featured on "The Soundhouse Tapes 2" as well as on the "Metal For Muthas" compilation. The band then toured the UK with Iron Maiden and they developed a very large and loyal support base. They also appeared at the 1980 Reading Festival, which led to them being signed to Arista Records. Their debut album, "Time Tells No Lies", from which the featured track was taken, featured the Troy brothers, together with Dave Potts on drums and Steve Carroll on guitar & vocals, finally saw the light of day in early 1981. It was very well received by their fans and the music press alike.

Vocalist Bernie Shaw, previously with Grand Prix and later to find fame with Uriah Heep, the band he still fronts to this day, then joined the band, but Praying Mantis folded in the early 80's, with the Troy brothers and Shaw going on to join ex-Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr in Stratus. Stratus released one poorly received album called ''Throwing Shapes'' in 1985 before splitting, with Tino and Chris Troy electing to reform Praying Mantis.

The band toured Japan with ex-Iron Maiden members, vocalist Paul Dianno (who later formed Battlezone and Killers) and guitarist Dennis Stratton, together with ex-Wildfire drummer, Bruce Bisland, and they and became very popular there, releasing a live album called "Live At Last" in 1990. They then released their second studio album, "Predator In Disguise", with Stratton and Bisland, in 1991. They were then joined by vocalist Colin Peel, ex-Outside Edge, and this line-up released "A Cry For The New World", in 1993. Their music had now taken on a very classy AOR direction and they were equally on a par with some of the better known heavyweights of the day.

Bad luck with vocalists continued to plague the band, and Peel was replaced, firstly by Mark Thompson-Smith (ex-Touche) and then by the seasoned Gary Barden, of MSG and Statetrooper fame, who appeared on their next album, "To The Power Of Ten", in 1995. This album, whilst having its moments, was unfortunately generally felt to be a step backwards for the band by fans, although their credibility was regained with the release of the fantastic "Captured Alive In Tokyo City" live album in 1996. Barden then left and was replaced by Tony O'Hora, ex-Torino. The next album, ''Forever In Time", released in 1998, was one of their best albums, receiving a very positive response from fans. This same line-up also released "Nowhere To Hide" in 2000.

2003 found the band down to the core of the Troy brothers and Dennis Stratton, with Dougie White (Rainbow) and John Sloman (Lone Star/Uriah Heep) helping out on vocals and Martin Johnson on drums. Their "The Journey Goes On" album that year, was fantastic! The band was getting better with age.

Other albums/compilations worthwhile checking out are the Japanese-only "Demorabilia" double CD release, featuring unreleased archive studio material, released in 1999, "Marquee '79", a live bootleg of early recordings and ''Metal Crusade" in 1999, from their live reformation concert in Japan, with Tank and Samson.

ллл Back

  й2005-2008 The RockIt Scientst. All rights reserved. Designed and maintained by Brian Currin