01). David's Confession - Alpha 2
From "About Time", in 1999. Refer the previous write-up on The RockIt Scientist website on this fantastic once-off conceptual album, which was written and conceived by songwriter/vocalist and guitarist Mel Botes. The album featured members of the group Georgia, namely Philip Botha (drums & vocals), Andries Botha (guitars & vocals) and Conrad Botha (bass).
Undoubtedly one of the finest and most sought after conceptual/prog albums to be released in South Africa, it's due to be re-released in a remastered format, with different artwork, in the near future.
02). Mind Key - Deep Inside
From "Journey Of A Rough Diamond", released on Frontiers Records in 2004. Once in a while, in a world saturated by literally hundreds of new progressive and metal releases, a real gem of an album rears its head. This young Italian band, who are comprised of MarK Basile on vocals & acoustic guitar, Andrea Stipa on drums & percussion, Dario De Cicco on keyboards, Lele Castaldo on bass and Emanuele Colella on guitars.
The musicianship on this album is unbelievable, with the various members patently at ease playing solid progressive metal as they are at playing jazz fusion of the highest order. Colella and Stipa, in particular, sound like very seasoned musicians who have obviously been influenced by some of the masters. Definitely one of the better releases to come out of the Frontiers stable.
03). Roine Stolt - Head Above Water
Taken from his latest album, "Wall Street Voodoo", released on InsideOut Records earlier this year. This new release from the Flowers Kings/Kaipa/Transatlantic guitarist/vocalist is one of his best yet. It's basically a journey back in time and a tribute to the many bands that were an influence on his musical career from the age of 13. The album has a distinct 60's/70's slant and his guitar style evokes memories of the days when Zappa, the Allmans, Santana and others ruled the roost.
In the tried and tested style of so many Flower King releases, this is a double album of finely crafted tunes by a very respected musician, who is supported by Spock's Beard's Neil Morse on vocals and Hammond B3, Victor Woolf on bass, Gonzo Geffen on tablas, Marcus Lillequist on drums and Slim Pothead on keyboards.
04). Salas - Hidin' My Emotions
The power of radio! We featured this track on The RockIt Scientist last week and have since had numerous requests to hear it again. Refer the write-up on El Chicano's vocalist and guitarist in last week's playlist, plus the album review in the most recent newsletter. Taken from his brand new release, "Salas", which is available via www.jerrysalas.com or www.cdbaby.com
05). Jake E. Lee - I'll Be Creeping
A fantastic cover of the track written by Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser of Free. Guitarist Jake E. Lee is best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands, the band he formed with vocalist Ray Gillen, drummer Eric Singer and bass player Greg Chaison in the late 80's. When Badlands folded, Lee formed the short-lived Wicked Alliance with vocalist Mandy Lion. He went on to record tracks for singer Ann Lewis and he also released a solo album called "A Fine Pink Mist" in 1996, which was a tad disappointing. A very talent musician, this Japanese guitarist has been surprising silent for quite some time since he reformed Badlands in the late 90's. The album, "Dusk", was a fine return to form. He then collaborated with Ratt's Stephen Pearcy in Mickey Ratt.
His new solo album, "Retraced", from which the featured track was taken, and which features Chris Logan on vocals, Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Tim Bogert on bass, was released in 2005 on Mascot Records. Essentially a covers album, it features great versions of tracks by bands such as Trapeze, Cactus, Savoy Brown, Johnny Winter, Grand Funk Railroad and others.
06). Five Fifteen - Stone Cold Heartbreaker
From "Death Of A Clown", in 2001. One of the many great bands to emerge from the Finnish progressive rock scene. This progressive/hard rock outfit would appear to have been formed in the mid 90's, with the initial line-up being Timo Gren on guitars, Mika Jarvinen on vocals & guitars, Pate Kivinen on keyboards, Repe Lumikumpu on bass and Jan-Erik Suni on drums. Their earlier albums such as "Progressive Hardrock Beyond The Mainstream", "Psychedelic Singalongs For Stadiums", "Armageddon Jam Session Number Four" and "Six Dimensions Of The Electric Camembert", all showed their Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin influences.
On "Death Of A Clown", which was released on the Swedish Record Heaven Record label, Hanna Wendelin was on vocals, Atte Sarkima was on drums and Esa Mark was on guitars. Five Fifteen are an exciting band who are apparently very popular on the live scene.
07). Karthago - The World Is Like A Burning Fire
Taken from their "Live at The Roxy" album, released in 1976. This fantastic German jazz/rock outfit, who were formed in Berlin in 1970, were inspired and influenced by many US and English bands such as Chicago, Argent, Heaven and others. The band's initial line-up included Joey Albrecht on guitars & vocals, Tommy Goldschmidt on drums & vocals, Gerald Hartwig on bass & vocals, Ingo Bischof on organ & vocals and Wolfgang Brock on percussion & vocals. Their self-titled debut album, released on the BASF label, came out in 1971. It was a very good album in every sense of the word, but it wasn't as successful as it was hoped it would be.
It took two and a half years for the follow-up album to be released. "Second Step", also released on the BASF label, featured new drummer Norbert Lehmann. The band were moving in a more mainstream rock direction, although their jazz leanings were still very much in evidence. Their most popular album, "Rock 'n Roll Testament" (1975), their first for the Bacillus label, was slightly more funky in parts, and it featured Glenn Cornick of Jethro Tull and Wild Turkey fame, on bass, together with yet another drummer, Konni Bommarius. The featured album saw yet another new drummer, this time Ringo Funk of Atlantis fame, in addition to a new guitarist, Reinhard Bopp. The interplay between Ringo Funk and Tommy Goldschmidt, who was now on percussion on the live album, is fantastic.
Karthago's final effort, ''Love Is A Cake", released in 1977, was a slight disappointment. Most of the musicians in the band went on to work with other bands, although Joey Albrecht revived the band on more than a few occasions. Karthago were one of the featured bands on the recently released "Kraut Rock Meeting" dvd in 2005.
08). Matalex - Matalex
From "Live '96", released in 1996. This Germany jazz/rock/funk outfit would appear to have been formed in the early 90's. The main members were Alex Gunia on guitars and Matthias Kraus (Mat Junior) on keyboards, both of whom studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the US in the late 80's. Their earlier albums such as "Wild Indian Summer" (1993), featured Steve Smith (of Journey and Vital Information fame), on drums, Jeff Andrews on bass, together with guest Randy Brecker (trumpet). "Jazz Grunge", released in 1996, featured Arnd Geise on bass and Jost Nickel on drums. This was serious funk rock at its best, with some sterling playing from both Geise and Gunia!
The featured album, which was recorded in Rome and Dusseldorf, featured Geise and Nickel, together with Gunia and Mat Junior, all of whom had now gelled into a fantastically tight and melodic unit. It's not known if the band have recorded any other material since.
In the past, the band toured as the opening act for the likes of Billy Cobham and Adam Holzman.
09). Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Second Wind
The Gong story is long and quite complicated. The name Gong had appeared on several projects undertaken by guitarist David Allen, who was a founder member of Soft Machine. Allen relocated to Paris, joining ranks with the likes of Didier Malherbe (sax/flute), Gilli Smythe (vocals), Pip Pyle (drums - later replaced by Lauri Allen) and Christian Tritsch (bass). An extremely quirky and avant garde group, Gong became well known for albums such as "Flying Teapot", "Angel's Egg" and "You", and their stage act became legendary. Later members included Steve Hillage (guitar - ex-Khan), Tim Blake (synth) and Mike Howlett (bass).
Daevid Allen left Gong in July 1975, with Hillage assuming leadership of the band, although drummer Pierre Moerlen, who'd been a member of the band since 1973, and who would also work with Mike Oldfield and Brand X, then took over as Hillage began a solo career. By now the band had adopted a more jazz/rock direction and their albums became more accessible to a wider audience. Mike Hewlett was replaced by Hansford Rowe and Allan Holdsworth (of Tempest/Soft Machine fame) replaced Hillage.
The album, "Full Circle Live 1988", from which the featured track was taken, was recorded live to cassette in Bremen, Germany in June 1988. It was mysteriously lost for nearly ten years, only to re-appear in 1997, when it was released on CD. Joining Moerlen were Hansford Rowe on guitars, Benoit Moerlen on vibes, Ake Zieden on guitar and Stefan Traub on vibes. It's one of the finest jazz/rock albums you'll ever hear and is it's highly recommended. The recording is stunning and the band positively cook - this is Gong at their best!
Pierre Moerlen sadly passed away on May 3rd, 2005.
10). Bachman Turner Overdrive - Stayed Awake All Night
Canadian band Bachman Turner Overdrive, or BTO, as they're affectionately known, have already been featured on The RockIt Scientist, so you can refer to that write-up on this legendary band elsewhere on the site.
The featured track was taken from their self-titled debut album, which was released in 1973, with Randy Bachman on guitar & vocals, C.F.Turner on bass & lead vocals, Rob Bachman on drums and Tim Bachman on rhythm guitar & vocals. This album also contains one of their best ever numbers, "Blue Collar".
11). Murasaki - Doomsday
From "Impact", in 1976. Deep Purple are undoubtedly one of the most respected and popular bands in Japan, where they toured prolifically during the early 70's. Murasaki, who were formed in 1970, are George Murasaki on keyboards, Masao Shiroma on vocals, Eiichi Miyanaga on drums & vocals, Yukio Shimoji and Kiyomasa Higa on guitars and Toshio Shiroma on bass & vocals, are out and out Deep Purple clones! Their organ and guitar heavy hard rock repertoire is straight out of the Deep Purple vaults. Having said that, though, musically, they're a very competent band, with some fantastic riffs and solos. Vocalist Shiroma, it has to be said, is definitely the band's weak link, and that's not necessarily because he sings in English.
Other (known) albums from this Japanese outfit are "Murasaki"(1975) and the two live albums, the double CD "Doin' Our Thing" (1977) and ''Peaceful Love Rock Concert" (1985). Needless to say, the albums are only available on very pricey Japanese imports.
12). Deep Purple - Back To Back
Taken from "Rapture Of The Deep", their brilliant latest studio album, released in 2005. This album has already been featured on The RockIt Scientist and a write-up appears elsewhere on the site, as well as on one of the newsletters. The message is simple:
Get this CD - it's one of the best albums this legendary band have ever recorded! It features Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Steve Morse, Roger Glover and Don Airey, who replaced Jon Lord a few years back.
The featured track was taken from the limited edition tin container edition, released on the German Edel Record label. www.deeppurple.co.za
13). Uriah Heep - Sunrise
A tribute to vocalist and founding member, David Byron, who died on February 28th, 1985 from a heart attack, following years of excessive drug and alcohol abuse.
Born David Garrick on January 29th, 1947, Byron began his musical career in 1965 as the singer for the popular UK pub band,The Stalkers, which evolved into Spice, and which also featured guitarist Mick Box. Byron and Box then left Spice in 1970 and formed Uriah Heep, together with drummer Al Napier, bass guitarist Paul Newton and keyboard player/guitarist/vocalist Ken Hensley. The band, who took their name from the swindling accountant in the book "David Copperfield", released their awesome debut album, "Very 'eavy, Very 'umble", in 1970.
They went on to become one of the UK's most popular acts, but Byron's antics were alienating him more and more from the rest of the band. His final album with Uriah Heep was 1976's "High and Mighty".(He'd previously released a solo album, "Take No Prisoners" in 1975). After being fired from Uriah Heep, he formed Rough Diamond with ex-Humble Pie guitarist Clem Clempson, Geoff Britton (ex-Wings - drums), keyboard player Damon Butcher (ex-Steve Marriott's All Stars) and bassist Willie Bath. They released one self-titled album in 1977, but friction between Byron and the rest of the band led to Rough Diamond splitting, with the band evolving into Champion. Byron then embarked on a solo career, releasing "Baby Faced Killer" in 1977 and "This Day And Age" in 1980. He later formed The Byron Band and released two albums, "On The Rocks", in 1981 and "Bad Widow" in 1984.
The featured track was taken from "The Magician's Birthday", in 1972, one of Uriah Heep's most successful albums.
14). Marshall Tucker Band - Can't You See
Another tribute, this time to founder member/guitarist and vocalist Toy Caldwell, who, together with his bass playing brother, Tommy, formed The Marshall Tucker Band in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the US, in 1972. The Caldwell brothers had previously been in Toy Factory, a band Toy had formed, after returning from Vietnam, where he'd been injured. The other members of the MTB were Doug Gray on vocals, George McCorkle on rhythm guitar, Paul Riddle on drums and Jerry Eubanks on flute & sax.
The band signed to Capricorn Records and they released their self-titled debut album in 1973. They had numerous hits, one of them being the featured track, which was taken off their 1975 album, "Searching For A Rainbow". Further albums such as "A New Life"(1974), the live "Where We All Belong"(1974), "Long Hard Ride"(1976), ''Carolina Dreams"(1977), "Together Forever"(1978), "Running Like The Wind"(their first album for new label, Warner Brothers, in 1979) and "Tenth",(the final to feature Tommy Caldwell, in 1980), all had their moments and all ensured that the band retained their place as one of the US's top country/Southern rock outfits.
Tommy Caldwell died on April 28th, 1980, from injuries sustained in an auto crash in Spartanburg on April 23rd. (Tragically, the Caldwell's older brother, Tim, had also been killed in a separate car crash, a month earlier).
A fantastically gifted guitarist who played with his thumb instead of a plectrum, Toy Caldwell died on February 25th, 1993, of a respiratory related condition, adding to an ever growing list of Southern rockers that've passed on. He also released two solo albums.
Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks continued with the fine MTB tradition and they're still around to this day, although Gray is currently the only remaining original member of this great band.
15). Robin Trower - Too Rolling Stoned
Especially for my childhood friend, Ilan Ossendryver!
English guitarist Robin Trower first rose to prominence in The Paramounts, a popular Southend, Essex-based R&B group which recorded around five singles between 1963 and 1965. He then joined Procol Harum, with whom he remained until 1971. Wanting a hard edge to his music, he left Procol Harum and formed the short-lived Jude (some reference books refer to this band as Jade!) with ex-Stoics vocalist Frankie Miller, ex-Stone The Crows bassist Jimmy Dewar and Clive Bunker, ex-Jethro Tull, on drums. This band evolved into The Robin Trower Band, with drummer Reg Isidore (who was later replaced by Bill Lordan, of Sly & The Family Stone fame).
Robin Trower signed to Chrysalis Records and released his debut album, "Twice Removed From Yesterday", in 1973, with the featured album, "Bridge Of Sighs", being released the following year. Often criticized as being a Hendrix clone, Robin Trower was, and still is, nonetheless a fantastic guitarist. Jimmy Dewar, who has since passed on, was a great bassist and vocalist.
Trower is still recording and touring. His most recent album, the live "Living Out Of Time Live", was given short review in the latest RockIt Scientist newsletter.
16). Smokehouse - Road Keys
From "Hot Rocks", in 2002. This French blues/rock quartet, who's members are Remy Laeron on vocals, Herve Raynal on guitars, Bruno Mieusset on keyboards, Fred Guillemet on bass and Franck Ballier on drums, are obviously very well schooled in their craft. Their music has elements of Southern rock, much in the same vein as Alligator Stew or Blackfoot.
17). Firebird - Off The Leash
This stoner rock outfit are just one of many great bands to emerge from Sweden in the past ten years or so. Bill Steer is on guitar & vocals, George Atlagic is on drums and Roger Nilsson is on bass. The track was taken from "No. 3", released on Steamhammer Records, in 2003. Formed around five years or so, the band's previous albums, "Firebird" and "Deluxe", are also worth a spin.
18). Khan - Stranded
From their sole album, "Sea Shanty", released on the Deram Record label, in 1972. This sadly short-lived UK jazz/rock outfit were formed by guitarist Steve Hillage in the early 70's. The band also featured ex-Crazy World of Arthur Brown members, Dick Henn (organ) and Nick Greenwood (bass), together with Nigel Smith on bass and Eric Peachey on drums. Dave Stewart, previously with Egg, featured as a guest organist.
When Khan folded, Stewart went on to feature with Hatfield and The North. Hillage featured with Kevin Ayers before joining French outfit, Gong. He also released a number of well received solo albums in the late 70's.
19). Colin Bass - Macassar
This track was taken from an excellent solo effort from Camel bass player/vocalist Colin Bass called "An Outcast Of The Islands", which was released in 1998. Bass is very popular in Poland, where he has received extensive airplay (he released an album called "Live at Polskie Radio 3", as well as another solo album called "Colin Bass Live Vol. 2 - Acoustic Songs). Featured musicians on this album include Camel's Andy Latimer on guitar and Dave Stewart on drums, as well as musicians from Polish bands Abraxas and Quidam, as well as members of the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra.
Colin Bass has also released three albums in Indonesia under the name of Sabah Habas Mustapha, namely "Denpasar Moon"(1994), "Jalan Kopo"(1977) and "So La Li" (2000 - which was nominated for a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award)
His most recent studio album, "In The Meantime", was released a few years ago.
Off The Edge - Guiding Light
One of many fantastic instrumentals written by guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Peter Hanmer, who formed the band in the mid 80's. The band have been well documented elsewhere on The RockIt Scientist website, so you can read up on them there.
The featured track was taken from "Unfinished Business", released in 2002, and features Tony Groenewald on bass and Giselle Mynhardt on vocals, neither of whom are currently with the band. www.OffTheEdge.co.za
21). Yes - Heart Of The Sunrise
Taken from their (triple LP, double CD) live "Yessongs" album, released in 1973. Recorded on tour during 1972, the album featured the "classic" Yes line-up of Steve Howe on guitars & vocals, Jon Anderson on vocals, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Chris Squire on bass & vocals and Alan White on drums (although Bill Bruford appears on three tracks).
Yes's music can be pretty complex to reproduce live, but the band sound as good on stage as they do in the studio. Roger Dean's sleeve artwork on this masterpiece was amongst his best work.