Friday, 1 April 2011
Size: 95.6 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
John Surman was one of the very few saxmen in England to find a significant audience in rock during the late '60s, playing gigs regularly at venues like the Marquee Club in London. Also a clarinetist of some renown, and no slouch on keyboards either, the atmospheric sounds that Surman creates on his horns has been a major asset to the ECM label ever since the late '70s; but, before that, he was an extremely prolific artist on Deram, Futura, Dawn, and Island, cutting seven solo albums between 1968 and 1974 on those mainstream pop-oriented labels, as well as recording with Morning Glory on Island. One of England's top jazz players of the past several decades, Surman is particularly strong on the baritone. Surman played in jazz workshops while still in high school. He studied at the London College of Music and London University Institute of Education in the mid-'60s, played with Alexis Korner and Mike Westbrook until the late '60s, and recorded with the latter until the mid-'70s. He was voted best soloist at the 1968 Montreux Festival while heading his band. Surman worked with Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, Dave Holland, Chris McGregor, and John McLaughlin in the '60s, and toured Europe with the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland big band in 1970.
Surman toured and recorded with Barre Phillips and Stu Martin in the late '60s and early '70s, and again in the late '70s, adding Albert Mangelsdorff to the group. They called themselves the Trio, then Mumps. Surman played with Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore in the sax trio SOS in the mid-'70s. He also collaborated with the Carolyn Carlson dance company at the Paris Opera through the mid- and late '70s. Surman recorded with Stan Tracey and Karin Krog, while working with Miroslav Vitous and Azimuth. He led the Brass Project in the early '80s, and played in Collier's big band and Gil Evans' British orchestra. Surman toured with Evans again in the late '80s. He began recording as a leader for Pye in the early '70s, and did sessions for Ogun and ECM. Surman continued recording in the '80s, mostly for ECM. He worked with Terje Rypdal, Jack DeJohnette, Pierre Favre, Bengt Hallberg, Archie Shepp, Warne Marsh, and Red Mitchell, among others. Surman has made many recordings for ECM, spanning from free form to mood music, and he remains one of the label's most consistently stimulating artists.
01. With Terry's Help
02. The Dandelion
03. We'll Make It
04. Picture Tree
05. Tales Of The Algonquin:
I. The Purple Swan
II. Shingebis And The North Wind
III. The Adventures Of Manabush
IV. The White Water Lily V. Wihio The Wanderer
Size: 82.4 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Young Americans is the ninth album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released by RCA Records in 1975.
With this LP, Bowie made a sudden and jolting step in a new direction, shedding his glam rock past and exploring Philadelphia soul with backing from a pre-fame Luther Vandross. Interviewed in Playboy magazine in 1976, Bowie described Young Americans as "the definitive plastic soul record. It's the squashed remains of ethnic music as it survives in the age of Muzak rock, written and sung by a white limey."
Young Americans contained his first number one hit in the U.S., "Fame", co-written with John Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals). The album also included work from rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar, who would eventually work with Bowie on ten more studio albums.
David Bowie had dropped hints during the Diamond Dogs tour that he was moving toward R&B, but the full-blown blue-eyed soul of Young Americans came as a shock. Surrounding himself with first-rate sessionmen, Bowie comes up with a set of songs that approximate the sound of Philly soul and disco, yet remain detached from their inspirations; even at his most passionate, Bowie sounds like a commentator, as if the entire album was a genre exercise. Nevertheless, the distance doesn't hurt the album -- it gives the record its own distinctive flavor, and its plastic, robotic soul helped inform generations of synthetic British soul. What does hurt the record is a lack of strong songwriting. "Young Americans" is a masterpiece, and "Fame" has a beat funky enough that James Brown ripped it off, but only a handful of cuts ("Win," "Fascination," "Somebody up There Likes Me") comes close to matching their quality. As a result, Young Americans is more enjoyable as a stylistic adventure than as a substantive record.
01."Young Americans" – 5:10
02."Win" – 4:44
03."Fascination" (Bowie, Luther Vandross) – 5:43
04."Right" – 4:13
05."Somebody Up There Likes Me" – 6:30
06."Across the Universe" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 4:30
07."Can You Hear Me" – 5:04
08."Fame" (Bowie, Carlos Alomar, Lennon) – 4:12
Size: 88.7 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, released in March 1973. The concept album built on ideas explored by the band in their live shows and earlier recordings, but it lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterised their work following the departure in 1968 of founding member, principal composer and lyricist Syd Barrett. The Dark Side of the Moon's themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett's deteriorating mental state.
The album was developed as part of a forthcoming tour of live performances, and was premiered several months before studio recording began. The new material was further refined during the tour and was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road Studios in London. The group used some of the most advanced recording techniques of the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesisers were given prominence in several tracks, and a series of recorded interviews with staff and band personnel provided the source material for a range of philosophical quotations used throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was directly responsible for some of the most notable sonic aspects of the album, including the non-lexical performance of Clare Torry. The album's iconic sleeve features a prism that represents the band's stage lighting, the record's lyrics, and the request for a "simple and bold" design.
The Dark Side of the Moon was an immediate success, topping the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for one week. It subsequently remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. It has twice been remastered and re-released, and has been covered by several other acts. It spawned two singles, "Money" and "Us and Them". In addition to its commercial success, The Dark Side of the Moon is one of Pink Floyd's most popular albums among fans and critics, and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest rock albums of all-time.
Following the release of Meddle in 1971, in December the band assembled for an upcoming tour of Britain, Japan, and the United States. Rehearsing in Broadhurst Gardens in London, there was the looming prospect of a new album, although their priority at that time was the creation of new material. In a band meeting at drummer Nick Mason's home in Camden, bassist Roger Waters proposed that a new album could form part of the tour. Waters' idea was for an album that dealt with things that "make people mad", focusing on the pressures faced by the band during their arduous lifestyle, and dealing with the apparent mental problems suffered by former band member Syd Barrett. The band had explored a similar idea with 1969's The Man and the Journey. In a recent interview for Rolling Stone, guitarist David Gilmour said:
...I think we all thought—and Roger definitely thought—that a lot of the lyrics that we had been using were a little too indirect. There was definitely a feeling that the words were going to be very clear and specific.
Generally, all four members agreed that Waters' concept of an album unified by a single theme was a good idea. Waters, Gilmour, Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright participated in the writing and production of the new material, and Waters created the early demo tracks at his Islington home in a small recording studio he had built in his garden shed. Parts of the new album were taken from previously unused material; the opening line of "Breathe" came from an earlier work by Waters and Ron Geesin, written for the soundtrack of The Body, and the basic structure of "Us and Them" was taken from a piece originally composed by Wright for the film Zabriskie Point. The band rehearsed at a warehouse in London owned by The Rolling Stones, and then at the Rainbow Theatre. They also purchased extra equipment, which included new speakers, a PA system, a 28-track mixing desk with four quadraphonic outputs, and a custom-built lighting rig. Nine tonnes of kit was transported in three lorries; this would be the first time the band had taken an entire album on tour, but it would allow them to refine and improve the new material, which by then had been given the provisional title of Dark Side of the Moon (an allusion to lunacy, rather than astronomy). However, after discovering that that title had already been used by another band, Medicine Head, it was temporarily changed to Eclipse. The new material premièred at The Dome in Brighton, on 20 January 1972, and after the commercial failure of Medicine Head's album the title was changed back to the band's original preference.
Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics, as it was then known, was performed in the presence of an assembled press on 17 February 1972—more than a year before its release—at the Rainbow Theatre, and was critically acclaimed. Michael Wale of The Times described the piece as "... bringing tears to the eyes. It was so completely understanding and musically questioning." Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times wrote "The ambition of the Floyd's artistic intention is now vast." Melody Maker was, however, less enthusiastic: "Musically, there were some great ideas, but the sound effects often left me wondering if I was in a bird-cage at London zoo." The following tour was praised by the public. The new material was performed live, in the same order in which it would eventually be recorded, but obvious differences between the live version, and the recorded version released a year later, included the lack of synthesisers in tracks such as "On the Run", and Bible readings that were later replaced by Clare Torry's non-lexical vocables on "The Great Gig in the Sky".
The band's lengthy tour through Europe and North America gave them the opportunity to make continual improvements to the scale and quality of their performances. Studio sessions were scheduled between tour dates; rehearsals began in England on 20 January 1972, but in late February the band travelled to France and recorded music for French director Barbet Schroeder's film, La Vallée. They then performed in Japan and returned to France in March to complete work on the film. After a series of dates in North America, the band flew to London to begin recording the album, from 24 May to 25 June. More concerts in Europe and North America followed before the band returned on 9 January 1973 to complete work on the album.
Dark Side of the Moon built upon experiments Pink Floyd had attempted in their previous live shows and recordings, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions which, according to critic David Fricke, had become characteristic of the band after founding member Syd Barrett left in 1968. Guitarist David Gilmour, Barrett's replacement, later referred to those instrumentals as "that psychedelic noodling stuff", and with Waters cited 1971's Meddle as a turning-point towards what would be realised on the album. Dark Side of the Moon's lyrical themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time, death, and insanity, the latter inspired in part by Barrett's deteriorating mental state; he had been the band's principal composer and lyricist. The album is notable for its use of musique concrète and conceptual, philosophical lyrics, as found in much of the band's other work.
Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and (according to Waters) "empathy". "Speak to Me" and "Breathe" together stress the mundane and futile elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, and the importance of living one's own life—"Don't be afraid to care". By shifting the scene to an airport, the synthesiser-driven instrumental "On the Run" evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright's fear of flying. "Time" examines the manner in which its passage can control one's life and offers a stark warning to those who remain focussed on mundane aspects; it is followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in "Breathe (Reprise)". The first side of the album ends with Wright and vocalist Clare Torry's soulful metaphor for death, "The Great Gig in the Sky". Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, "Money", mocks greed and consumerism using tongue-in-cheek lyrics and cash-related sound effects (ironically, "Money" has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands). "Us and Them" addresses the isolation of the depressed with the symbolism of conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. "Brain Damage" looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self; in particular, the line "and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes" reflects the mental breakdown of former band-mate Syd Barrett. The album ends with "Eclipse", which espouses the concepts of alterity and unity, while forcing the listener to recognise the common traits shared by humanity.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, in two sessions, between May 1972 and January 1973. The band were assigned staff engineer Alan Parsons, who had worked as assistant tape operator on Atom Heart Mother, and who had also gained experience as a recording engineer on The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be. The recording sessions made use of some of the most advanced studio techniques of the time; the studio was capable of 16-track mixes, which offered a greater degree of flexibility than the eight- or four-track mixes they had previously used, although the band often used so many tracks that to make more space available second-generation copies were made.
Beginning on 1 June, the first track to be recorded was "Us and Them", followed six days later by "Money". Waters had created effects loops from recordings of various money-related objects, including coins thrown into a food-mixing bowl taken from his wife's pottery studio, and these were later re-recorded to take advantage of the band's decision to record a quadraphonic mix of the album (Parsons has since expressed dissatisfaction with the result of this mix, attributed to a lack of time and the paucity of available multi-track tape recorders). "Time" and "The Great Gig in the Sky" were the next pieces to be recorded, followed by a two-month break, during which the band spent time with their families and prepared for an upcoming tour of the US. The recording sessions suffered regular interruptions; Waters, a supporter of Arsenal F.C., would often break to see his team compete, and the band would occasionally stop work to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus on the television, leaving Parsons to work on material recorded up to that point. Gilmour has, however, disputed this claim; in an interview in 2003 he said: "We would sometimes watch them but when we were on a roll, we would get on."
Returning from the US in January 1973, they recorded "Brain Damage", "Eclipse", "Any Colour You Like" and "On the Run", while fine-tuning the work they had already laid down in the previous sessions. A foursome of female vocalists was assembled to sing on "Brain Damage", "Eclipse" and "Time", and saxophonist Dick Parry was booked to play on "Us and Them" and "Money". With director Adrian Maben, the band also filmed studio footage for Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. Once the recording sessions were complete, the band began a tour of Europe.
The album is particularly notable for the metronomic sound effects during "Speak to Me", and the tape loops that open "Money". Mason created a rough version of "Speak to Me" at his home, before completing it in the studio. The track serves as an overture and contains cross-fades of elements from other pieces on the album. A piano chord, replayed backwards, serves to augment the build-up of effects, which are immediately followed by the opening of "Breathe". Mason received a rare solo composing credit for "Speak to Me". The sound effects on "Money" were created by splicing together Waters' recordings of clinking coins, tearing paper, a ringing cash register, and a clicking adding machine, which were used to create a 7-beat effects loop (later adapted to four tracks in order to create a "walk around the room" effect in quadraphonic presentations of the album). At times the degree of sonic experimentation on the album required the engineers and band to operate the mixing console's faders simultaneously, in order to mix down the intricately assembled multitrack recordings of several of the songs (particularly "On the Run").
Along with the conventional rock band instrumentation, Pink Floyd added prominent synthesisers to their sound. For example, the band experimented with an EMS VCS 3 on "Brain Damage" and "Any Colour You Like", and a Synthi A on "Time" and "On the Run". They also devised and recorded unconventional sounds, such as an assistant engineer running around the studio's echo chamber (during "On the Run"), and a specially treated bass drum made to simulate a human heartbeat (during "Speak to Me", "On the Run", "Time", and "Eclipse"). This heartbeat is most prominent as the intro and the outro to the album, but it can also be heard sporadically on "Time", and "On the Run". The assorted clocks ticking then chiming simultaneously at the start of "Time", accompanied by a series of Rototoms, were initially created as a quadraphonic test by Parsons. The engineer recorded each timepiece at an antique clock shop, and although his recordings had not been created specifically for the album, elements of the material were eventually used in the track.
Several tracks, including "Us and Them" and "Time", demonstrate Richard Wright and David Gilmour's ability to harmonise their voices. In the 2003 documentary The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon, Waters attributed this to the fact that their voices sound extremely similar. To take advantage of this, Parsons perfected the use of studio techniques such as the doubletracking of vocals and guitars, which allowed Gilmour to harmonise with himself. Parsons also made prominent use of flanging and phase shifting effects on vocals and instruments, odd trickery with reverb,and the panning of sounds between channels (most notable in the quadraphonic mix of "On the Run", when the sound of the Hammond B3 organ played through a Leslie speaker rapidly swirls around the listener).
The album's credits include Clare Torry, a session singer and songwriter, and a regular at Abbey Road. She had worked on pop material and numerous cover albums, and after hearing one of those albums Parsons invited her to the studio to sing on "The Great Gig in the Sky". She declined this invitation as she wanted to watch Chuck Berry perform at the Hammersmith Odeon, but arranged to come in on the following Sunday. The band explained the concept behind the album, but were unable to tell her exactly what she should do. Gilmour was in charge of the session, and in a few short takes on a Sunday night Torry improvised a wordless melody to accompany Richard Wright's emotive piano solo. She was initially embarrassed by her exuberance in the recording booth, and wanted to apologise to the band—only to find them delighted with her performance. Her takes were then selectively edited to produce the version used on the track. For her contribution she was paid £30, equivalent to about £300 as of 2011, but in 2004 she sued EMI and Pink Floyd for song writing royalties, arguing that she co-wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" with keyboardist Richard Wright. The High Court agreed with her, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. All post-2005 pressings which include "The Great Gig in the Sky" therefore credit both Wright and Torry for the song.
Snippets of voices between and over the music are another notable feature of the album. During recording sessions, Waters recruited both the staff and the temporary occupants of the studio to answer a series of questions printed on flashcards. The interviewees were placed in front of a microphone in a darkened studio three, and shown such questions as "What's your favourite colour?" and "What's your favourite food?", before moving on to themes more central to the album (such as madness, violence, and death). Questions such as "When was the last time you were violent?", followed immediately by "Were you in the right?", were answered in the order they were presented. Roger "The Hat" Manifold proved difficult to find, and was the only contributor recorded in a conventional sit-down interview, as by then the flashcards had been mislaid. Waters asked him about a violent encounter he had had with another motorist, and Manifold replied "... give 'em a quick, short, sharp shock ..." When asked about death he responded "live for today, gone tomorrow, that's me ..." Another roadie, Chris Adamson, who was on tour with Pink Floyd, recorded the explicit diatribe which opens the album: "I've been mad for fucking years—absolutely years". The band's road manager Peter Watts (father of actress Naomi Watts) contributed the repeated laughter during "Brain Damage" and "Speak to Me". His second wife, Patricia 'Puddie' Watts (now Patricia Gleason), was responsible for the line about the "geezer" who was "cruisin' for a bruisin'" used in the segue between "Money" and "Us and Them", and the words "I never said I was frightened of dying" heard near the end of "The Great Gig in the Sky".
Perhaps the most notable responses "I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do: I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it — you've got to go sometime" and closing words "there is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark" came from the studios' Irish doorman, Gerry O'Driscoll. Paul and Linda McCartney were also interviewed, but their answers were judged to be "trying too hard to be funny", and were not included on the album. McCartney's band mate Henry McCullough contributed the line "I don't know, I was really drunk at the time".
Following the completion of the dialogue sessions, producer Chris Thomas was hired to provide "a fresh pair of ears". Thomas's background was in music, rather than engineering. He had worked with Beatles producer George Martin, and was acquainted with Pink Floyd's manager Steve O'Rourke. All four members of the band were engaged in a disagreement over the style of the mix, with Waters and Mason preferring a "dry" and "clean" mix which made more use of the non-musical elements, and Gilmour and Wright preferring a subtler and more "echoey" mix. Thomas later claimed there were no such disagreements, stating "There was no difference in opinion between them, I don't remember Roger once saying that he wanted less echo. In fact, there were never any hints that they were later going to fall out. It was a very creative atmosphere. A lot of fun." Although the truth remains unclear, Thomas' intervention resulted in a welcome compromise between Waters and Gilmour, leaving both entirely satisfied with the end product. Thomas was responsible for significant changes to the album, including the perfect timing of the echo used on "Us and Them". He was also present for the recording of "The Great Gig in the Sky" (although Parsons was responsible for hiring Torry). Interviewed in 2006, when asked if he felt his goals had been accomplished in the studio, Waters said:
When the record was finished I took a reel-to-reel copy home with me and I remember playing it for my wife then, and I remember her bursting into tears when it was finished. And I thought, "This has obviously struck a chord somewhere", and I was kinda pleased by that. You know when you've done something, certainly if you create a piece of music, you then hear it with fresh ears when you play it for somebody else. And at that point I thought to myself, "Wow, this is a pretty complete piece of work", and I had every confidence that people would respond to it.
The album was originally released in a gatefold LP sleeve designed by Hipgnosis and George Hardie, and bore Hardie's iconic dispersive prism on the cover. Hipgnosis had designed several of the band's previous albums, with controversial results; EMI had reacted with confusion when faced with the cover designs for Atom Heart Mother and Obscured by Clouds, as they had expected to see traditional designs which included lettering and words. Designers Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell were able to ignore such criticism as they were employed by the band. For The Dark Side of the Moon Richard Wright instructed them to come up with something "smarter, neater—more classy". The prism design was inspired by a photograph that Thorgerson had seen during a brainstorming session with Powell. The artwork was created by their associate, George Hardie. Hipgnosis offered the band a choice of seven designs, but all four members agreed that the prism was by far the best. The design represents three elements; the band's stage lighting, the album lyrics, and Richard Wright's request for a "simple and bold" design. The spectrum of light continues through to the gatefold—an idea that Waters came up with. Added shortly afterwards, the gatefold design also includes a visual representation of the heartbeat sound used throughout the album, and the back of the album cover contains Thorgerson's suggestion of another prism recombining the spectrum of light, facilitating interesting layouts of the sleeve in record shops. The light band emanating from the prism on the album cover has six colours, missing indigo compared to the traditional division of the spectrum into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. (An actual prism would exhibit a continuous spectrum with no defined boundaries between colours, and coloured light within the prism.) Inside the sleeve were two posters and a sheet of pyramid-themed stickers. One poster bore pictures of the band in concert, overlaid with scattered letters to form PINK FLOYD, and the other an infrared photograph of the Great Pyramids of Giza, created by Powell and Thorgerson.
In 2003 VH1 declared that The Dark Side of the Moon had the fourth-greatest album cover of all time, and in 2009 listeners of the UK radio station Planet Rock voted the packaging the greatest album cover of all time.
Since the departure of founding member Barrett in 1968, the burden of lyrical composition had fallen mostly on Waters' shoulders. He is therefore credited as the author of the album's lyrics, making The Dark Side of the Moon the first of five consecutive Pink Floyd albums with lyrics credited only to him. The band were so confident of the quality of the writing that, for the first time, they felt able to print them on the album's sleeve. When in 2003 he was asked if his input on the album was "organising [the] ideas and frameworks" and David Gilmour's was "the music", Waters replied:
That's crap. There's no question that Dave needs a vehicle to bring out the best of his guitar playing. And he is a great guitar player. But the idea which he's tried to propagate over the years that he's somehow more musical than I am is absolute fucking nonsense. It's an absurd notion but people seem quite happy to believe it.
As the quadraphonic mix of the album was not yet complete, the band (with the exception of Wright) boycotted the press reception held at the London Planetarium on 27 February. The guests were, instead, presented with a quartet of life-sized cardboard cut-outs of the band, and the stereo mix of the album was presented through a poor-quality public address system. Generally, however, the press were enthusiastic; Melody Maker's Roy Hollingworth described side one as "... so utterly confused with itself it was difficult to follow", but praised side two, writing: "The songs, the sounds, the rhythms were solid and sound, Saxophone hit the air, the band rocked and rolled, and then gushed and tripped away into the night." Steve Peacock of Sounds wrote: "I don't care if you've never heard a note of the Pink Floyd's music in your life, I'd unreservedly recommend everyone to The Dark Side of the Moon". In his 1973 review for Rolling Stone magazine, Lloyd Grossman declared Dark Side "a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement".
The Dark Side of the Moon was released first in the US on 10 March 1973, and then in the UK on 24 March. It became an instant chart success in Britain and throughout Western Europe; by the following month, it had gained a gold certification in the UK and US. Throughout March 1973 the band played the album as part of their US tour, including a midnight performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York on 17 March, watched by an audience of 6,000. Highlights included an aircraft launched from the back of the hall at the end of "On the Run", which 'crashed' into the stage in a cloud of orange smoke. The album reached the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart's number one spot on 28 April 1973, and was so successful that the band returned two months later for another tour.
Much of the album's early State-side success is attributed to the efforts of Pink Floyd's US record company, Capitol Records. Newly appointed chairman Bhaskar Menon set about trying to reverse the relatively poor sales of the band's 1971 studio album Meddle. Meanwhile, disenchanted with Capitol, the band and manager O'Rourke had been quietly negotiating a new contract with CBS president Clive Davis, on Columbia Records. The Dark Side of the Moon was the last album that Pink Floyd were obliged to release before formally signing a new contract. Menon's enthusiasm for the new album was such that he began a huge promotional advertising campaign, which included radio-friendly truncated versions of "Us and Them" and "Time". In some countries—notably the UK—Pink Floyd had not released a single since 1968's "Point Me at the Sky", and unusually "Money" was released as a single on 7 May, with "Any Colour You Like" on the B-side. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1973. A two-sided white label promotional version of the single, with mono and stereo mixes, was sent to radio stations. The mono side had the word "bullshit" removed from the song—leaving "bull" in its place—however, the stereo side retained the uncensored version. This was subsequently withdrawn; the replacement was sent to radio stations with a note advising disc jockeys to dispose of the first uncensored copy. On 4 February 1974, a double A-side single was released with "Time" on one side, and "Us and Them" on the opposite side. Menon's efforts to secure a contract renewal with Pink Floyd were in vain however; at the beginning of 1974, the band signed for Columbia with a reported advance fee of $1M (in Britain and Europe they continued to be represented by Harvest Records).
01. "Speak to Me" Mason Instrumental 1:30
02. "Breathe" Waters, Gilmour, Wright Gilmour 2:43
03. "On the Run" Gilmour, Waters Instrumental 3:30
04. "Time" (containing "Breathe (Reprise)") Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour Gilmour, Wright 6:53
05. "The Great Gig in the Sky" Wright, Clare Torry[nb 12] Clare Torry 4:15
06. "Money" Waters Gilmour 6:30
07. "Us and Them" Waters, Wright Gilmour, Wright 7:51
08. "Any Colour You Like" Gilmour, Mason, Wright Instrumental 3:24
09. "Brain Damage" Waters Waters 3:50
10. "Eclipse" Waters Waters 1:45
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Size: 134 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Sandy is the second solo album by Sandy Denny, and is generally considered to be her best. The album was released in 1972 and begun just a fortnight after her UK tour promoting her debut solo album The North Star Grassman and the Ravens ended in early November 1971.
The first song recorded for the album was The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood, a Richard Farina lyric Denny had set to a traditional Irish melody My Lagan Love her ambitious multi tracked vocal arrangement having been inspired by the Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic. Demo sessions continued at the recently constructed Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, the first studio owned by Richard Branson's Virgin label. It was here that Denny recorded together with contemporaries a one-off project called The Bunch a collection of rock and roll era standards released under the title of Rock On. That collection marked Trevor Lucas's debut as a producer for Island Records and he took the helm on Sandy; the album was once again engineered by John Wood. The Manor sessions resulted in rough versions of Sweet Rosemary, The Lady, The Music Weaver, Listen Listen, For Nobody to Hear and Bushes and Briars. A further two tracks were begun but not finished: a cover version of fellow folk singer Anne Briggs's Go Your Own Way My Love and another Denny original After Halloween which was reworked three years later for Fairport Convention's Rising for the Moon album.
All of the albums songs were finished at Sound Techniques and Island studios in about 5 sessions between the end of April and late May where string arrangements by Harry Robinson were also added. Two further Denny compositions were recorded It Suits Me Well and It'll Take A Long Time and a cover version; (the by now ubiquitous Bob Dylan cover) of Tomorrow Is a Long Time completed the LP.. Allen Toussaint’s brass arrangement on For Nobody To Hear was recorded at Deep South Studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The guest musicians include Fairport Convention colleagues Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick, as well as Sneaky Pete Kleinow (of Flying Burrito Brothers fame) on steel guitar and friend and fellow singer Linda Thompson on backing vocals.
The album was originally issued in a gatefold sleeve featuring on its front a photograph by David Bailey, that came to define Denny's public image. The gatefold of the Lp opened to show the song lyrics handwritten by Denny herself and bordered by garlands of flowers drawn by Trevor Lucas's sister the illustrator Marion Appelton. The back cover featured the tracklisting and credits. Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn picked the albums lead single Listen, Listen as his single of the week in September 1972.
Sandy Denny's second post-Fairport solo offering, produced by then-future husband Trevor Lucas, is a beautiful blend of the traditional style with which she is most often associated and a slightly more lavish sound that would become more prevalent in her later work. Lucas does an excellent job of balancing the two and creates an exquisite backdrop for Denny's gorgeous songs and majestic voice. Nearly every track has the radiance and timelessness of her best Fairport work, along with an accessibility she had merely hinted at prior to this. "Listen, Listen," with its soaring chorus and bed of strings and mandolin, the lovely "The Lady," and the layered a cappella vocal arrangement of Richard Fariña's "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood" (featuring Dave Swarbrick's haunting solo violin coda) are perfect examples of Denny's enormous talents, and only a few of the many pleasures found here. Touches such as lush strings, Allen Toussaint's horn arrangement on "For Nobody to Hear," Sneaky Pete Kleinow's steel guitar and former Fairport partner Richard Thompson's guitars and mandolin bring out the many dimensions in Denny's music without obscuring it. Sandy also boasts her best collection of original material, as well as terrific covers of Dylan's "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," featuring Linda Thompson Peters on backing vocals, and the aforementioned "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood." If you're simply looking for a quick introduction to a wonderful songwriter and one of the finest voices in popular music, go for the single-disc best-of collection, but if you would like to hear Sandy Denny's definitive (solo) musical statement, search out Sandy.
01."It'll Take a Long Time" - 5:13
02."Sweet Rosemary" - 2:29
03."For Nobody to Hear" - 4:14
04."Tomorrow Is a Long Time" (Bob Dylan) - 3:56
05."The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood" (Music:Trad. Lyrics:Richard Fariña) - 4:28
06."Listen, Listen" - 3:58
07."The Lady" - 4:01
08."Bushes and Briars" - 3:53
09."It Suits Me Well" - 5:05
10."The Music Weaver" - 3:19
11."Here In Silence" (Peter Elford/Don Fraser) - 3:53
12."Man of Iron" (Peter Elford/Don Fraser) - 7:40
13."Sweet Rosemary" [Demo Version] - 3:00
14."Ecoute, Ecoute" - 3:59
15."It'll Take a Long Time" [Live Version] - 5:22
Size: 86.6 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Mad Shadows was the second album by Mott the Hoople. It was recorded in 1970 and released in the UK on Island Records in September 1970 (catalogue number ILPS 9112) and in the US by Atlantic Records (cat. no. SD 8272). It was subsequently re-released by Angel Air in 2003 (SJPCD157).
As with their debut album it was produced by Guy Stevens. The album title "Mad Shadows" was originally planned for the Steve Winwood's solo project that evolved into Traffic's John Barleycorn Must Die. Mott The Hoople's original title, Sticky Fingers, was dropped when The Rolling Stones used it for their own record. Indeed, Mick Jagger sang backing vocals on the song "Walkin' With A Mountain". The album was notable for its darker, heavier sound, and oppressive cover artwork. The final track of the original album, "When My Mind's Gone", was allegedly performed by Hunter under producer Stevens' hypnotic influence. Although the album received mixed reviews and sold poorly "Walkin' With A Mountain" remained a live favourite until the band folded.
When Mott the Hoople went into the recording studio to record this, their second album, it was known as Sticky Fingers. The front sleeve was already complete and featured an outsize Frankenstein's monster driving a dragster through the night. But Mott had reckoned without their producer Guy Stevens getting friendly with the Rolling Stones, who were next door mixing their new album for impending release. Hearing the title of Mott's new album, Mick'n'Keef promptly nicked it off them. And so it was that Mott's second LP had to be retitled Mad Shadows, a title originally chosen for the projected Steve Winwood solo album which was soon to become Traffic's come-back LP John Barleycorn Must Die. Confused? Well, you always would be when Guy Stevens was involved. And Mott could hardly complain, especially as Guy had got Mott together in the first place.
In 1969, Stevens had been looking for a cross between the Stones and the Band with an English Bob Dylan at the helm. So he took a young going-nowhere Hereford band called Silence and lumbered them with a new front man - a pianist/vocalist called Ian Hunter, a guy in his 30s who'd played bass in the New Yardbirds and had been a staff songwriter in London's tin pan alley. The first album had been cobbled together in late 1969, without Stevens knowing that Ian Hunter had never really been a pianist at all and could only play the chords G, C and D; all in a hugely kack-handed fashion. So, by the time of recording this second LP, Hunter's place in the group was in no way secure, and their guitarist Mick Ralphs was being pushed by Guy Stevens as the possible replacement frontman.
Side one of the first Mott LP had been a mish-mash of styles and experiments, but side two had produced just what Guy Stevens was looking for. It was a classic rock'n'roll work which ran from the uber-Stones riffing of "Rock and Roll Queen" to the Dylan overload of the eleven-minute "Half Moon Bay", with medleys of simple but blazing emotion linking each statement together. It was gorgeous in an emotional slegdehammer-y kind of way.
But this second LP, Mad Shadows, was to be Mott's greatest statement of all and a true cry from the heart for Ian Hunter. His wife had taken his children and returned to Shrewsbury, telling him that she would not accept his new longhair and new lifestyle, and the whole album resounds with Hunter's wailing and fist-pounding as the ghosts of his still recent former life spill over into every song. The sledgehammer attitude of the first album is, if anything, overtaken by the brutality of musical execution of Mad Shadows. Indeed, what makes Mad Shadows so powerful is the brazen way in which the other much younger musicians interpret Hunter's work. Simple to the point of repetition because of his ultra-limited piano playing, Hunter's songs actually gain from this flash, virtually punk energy which the rest of the band bring, and his desperate cry from the heart of a dissolving 30-something marriage is gloriously mis-translated by rampant musical interpreters barely out of their teens. Throughout the LP, Overend Watts' bass is far more reminiscent of Bill Wyman's storming work on "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby", than Rick Danko of the Band or any equivalently subtle American musician. Buffin's drums are proto-flash to the point of bluster, and were thoroughly ripped off by Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos to later drive a far more brash kind of music. Verden Allen's overdriven Hammond organ cranks out the same old riff song after song, even resorting to that dreadful Bar Mitzvah lick from "Like a Rolling Stone", but never does Guy Stevens scream 'Enough!' He just lets them get on and on with it, and often on songs of six and seven minutes in length. It is this suffocatingly, axe-wieldingly sentimental glue which fixes the entire album together, and the freedom was given to the band by Guy Stevens. Crediting himself with 'spiritual percussion and psychic piano', Guy Stevens is an awesome presence on Mad Shadows - not for what he contributes but for the space he allows them all to fill. Mott the Hoople may have made their name with a David Bowie song, but it was Stevens who created them, and he who created this LP. For Mad Shadows is their masterpiece.
This huge emotional reverberator drop kicks into life with the frantic five minutes of "Thunderbuck Ram", in which Mick Ralphs' raucous guitar riffs ring out across a Cheddar Gorge of chasmic reverb. The proto-Paranoid riff propells them all into the chorus with such venom that Guy Stevens' record-this-live-at-all-costs mode is immediately confronted and challenged head-on by huge glaring errors, as minors and majors clash and buzz. Yet the song thunders on relentlessly, until the tail-out becomes a huge one chord burn-out and the first of Ian Hunter's Velvets-meets-Jerry Lee Lewis high velocity piano attacks kicks in like cooking amphetamines into a hot curry.
Verden Allen's monolithic Hammond organ introduces the massive six minutes of "No Wheels to Ride", as Ian Hunter grinds his teeth and pounds the piano in grief, the memories of his children so recently taken from his life manifesting in a gargantuan emotional haemorrhage, as the band behind him try desperately to upstage him. "Can't get enough, can't get enough, can't get enough of your love," he howls over and over and over until even Mick Ralphs jots down the hookline (for later use). Then it's off into another huge and simple three chord emotional Hammond organ and pounding piano blow-out, like some kind of Spectorized proto-punk gross out. It's fair to remind ourselves at this moment that Guy Stevens once claimed: "There are only two Phil Spectors … and I'm one of them!" Indeed, In-fucking-deedio!
Following close behind on the coattails of "No Wheels to Ride", "You are one of us" is virtually the same song with the same frantic emotion and the same 'Hang on Sloopy" chord sequence, while Hunter screams about how he 'wants to thank everyone' and the band return to their single-minded intention of upstaging each other. Apparently, Hunter wants to THANK the band for letting him stay IN the band, while they accompany him as though they think he's already left.
And when they finish side one with "Walking with a Mountain", Mott is a Foden truck with the intentions of a Cadillac. Brutal, brash and totally without finesse, the bass and piano threaten to drive the whole tune into a lake at any moment, while Buffin's totally overachieving ideas of drumming are matched only by his inability to achieve any of it. Startling upstart rock'n'roll this is indeed and their producer Guy Stevens would have made the worst politician ever. He can't even be bothered to do a cover-up of thee most glaring errors. No wonder Mott's labelmates Traffic would later disparagingly allude to Mott's flash and bluster in their album title The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.
But subtlety was the last thing Stevens was searching for here, which is good because he would have been more than disappointed. Instead, he opted for huge Viking emotions and Neanderthal gestures. Side two begins with the sentimental and monumentally real seven-minute last-waltz of "I Can Feel". I say 'real' because it is both dopey and refreshing at the same time. The most mawkish female singers this side of Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From my Friends" coo and placate Hunter as he stands knee deep in pain and self-pity. Huge descending piano and organ chords swoop gratuitously as lumpen melody bass and ernie-ernie guitars squeeze out huge obvious solos from their wrung-necks. Only opera dares to be more brutal than Mott the Hoople when describing sad emotions.
Then it's off to the rodeo for "Threads of Iron" with its C&W rhythm and good time melody and cliched lyrics, until Mick Ralphs reminds us all that 'You are what you are' and the whole group bludgeon some poor old blues riff until it becomes subsumed into their standard two-chord thrash out, and we're off again into pounding and huge Albert Hall-sized Jerry Lee Lewis piano and that fucking merciless punk rock bass that wants to be a lead guitar played on telegraph wires. Of course, the whole thing disintegrates into utter painful chaos. Crash, bash, wallop. Oh, and then some more wallop.
Then we're down and down and downer still … to the very last song on the album. Legend has it that Guy Stevens switched the tape on for "When My Mind's Gone" without letting Ian Hunter write lyrics, telling him that whatever he sung would be the last track on the LP, so he'd better make it good. Stevens told the press that he'd hypnotised Hunter and sat at the other end of the piano staring the song into Hunter's eyes. If it's the truth, then Ian Hunter was a human sponge for emotion and instant song-writing. If, as Hunter later claimed, he was touching cloth and made it all up at the drop of a hat, then he's still a genius. Whatever, for "When My Mind's Gone", the standard three chords got wheeled out by Hunter, who proceeded to hammer his muse for all it was worth.
"What once was true is now untrue … what once was clean is now unclean … what once was safe is now … unsafe." Does it cut it, damn right it does. It is magnificent and tragic and funny and the best thing on the LP. Only Verden Allen dares play along with any confidence, while the rest of the band hesitate and splutter in the background for the whole six and a half minutes. And Mott prove themselves with their one great album; an album so flawed that it makes the Faces look tight and cover versions of Vanilla Fudge seem subtle.
Mad Shadows takes its name from a poem by Baudelaire, which Guy Stevens reproduced on the back of the gatefold sleeve. It includes such lines as: "Descend the way that leads to hell infernal, Plunge in a deep gulf where crime's inevitable." So we must presume from this evidence that, if Ian Hunter was really Pinocchio to Guy Stevens' Gepetto at this time, Mad Shadows is a brilliantly unhinged example of an albeit briefly, but nevertheless perfectly balanced rock'n'roll symbiosis.
01."Thunderbuck Ram" (Mick Ralphs) - 4:50
02."No Wheels To Ride" - 5:50
03."You Are One Of Us" - 2:26
04."Walkin' With A Mountain" - 3:49
05."I Can Feel" - 7:13
06."Threads Of Iron" (Ralphs) - 5:12
07."When My Mind's Gone" - 6:31
08."It Would Be A Pleasure" (Ralphs) - 1:50
09."How Long? (Death May Be Your Santa Claus)" (Hunter, Verden Allen) - 3:54
Size: 83.9 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Stupidity was the third album by Dr. Feelgood, released in September 1976. It was their first live album recording.
Their mushrooming popularity was confirmed when live set Stupidity (1976) topped the UK charts.
The album reached number 1 in the UK Albums Chart in October 1976 (for one week), and remained in that chart for nine weeks. It was the first live album to go to No 1 in the UK album chart, in its first week of release. It was Dr. Feelgood's first and, to date, only recording to reach number 1, and appeared over eight months before their first single entered the corresponding UK Singles Chart - "Sneakin' Suspicion" (June 1977).
Along with Rock Follies in 1976, it reached the top spot in the UK without the benefit of a hit single.
Comprised of recordings taken from 1975 tours, the live Stupidity finally captures the relentless, hard-driving energy of Dr. Feelgood at their peak. All the music on Stupidity is presented raw and without overdubs, making it clear that the dynamic friction between guitarist Wilko Johnson and vocalist Lee Brilleaux could propel the band toward greatness. While many of the versions here don't differ in form from the original studio versions, these unvarnished performances are considerably more exciting, revealing the Johnson originals "She Does It Right" and "All Through the City" as minor rock & roll classics.
The original vinyl album had the first seven tracks, recorded in Sheffield, on Side 1, and the next six tracks, recorded in Southend, on Side 2. The final two tracks, recorded in Aylesbury, were on a free single, only issued with the first 20,000 copies, making this a collector's item. This is, however, contradicted on the back of the 1998 Grand Records re-release (GRANDCD 21), which states that tracks 8-15 were all recorded at Southend.
01."Talking About You" (Chuck Berry)
02."20 Yards Behind"
03."Stupidity" (Solomon Burke)
04."All Through The City"
05."I'm a Man" (Bo Diddley)
06."Walking The Dog" (Rufus Thomas)
07."She Does It Right"
08."Going Back Home" (Mick Green, Johnson)
09."I Don't Mind"
10."Back in the Night"
11."I'm a Hog for you Baby" (Leiber, Stoller)
12."Checking Up on My Baby" (Sonny Boy Williamson)
Size: 85.1 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Malpractice was the second Dr. Feelgood album, released in October 1975.
The album reached number 17 in the UK Albums Chart in November 1975, and remained in that chart for six weeks. It was their first recording to chart, and appeared almost two years before their first single to do so in the corresponding UK Singles Chart - "Sneakin' Suspicion" (June 1977).
Malpractice saw Dr. Feelgood break into the UK Top 20, the success of the release a gauge of a change in the musical climate. With their drainpipe suits, short hair, and surly demeanour, they were as influential as any at the inception of punk rock.
Dr. Feelgood's second album and their American debut, Malpractice was represented a major step forward for the group -- for starters, it was in stereo. Add to that the fact that the quartet had refined its sound, so that it was a match for what the Rolling Stones had generated on their debut album, and you had the makings of a classic; Lee Brilleaux's lead vocals and his and Wilko Johnson's guitars crunch and slash their way through 11 songs, starting with a Bo Diddley number; they turn "Rollin' and Tumblin'" into a rock & roll piece, and also turn in a brace of memorable originals, most notably "You Shouldn't Call the Doctor (If You Can't Afford the Bills" and "Don't Let Your Daddy Know," both by Johnson.
01."I Can Tell" (Ellas McDaniel, Samuel F. Smith) 2:46
02."Going Back Home" (Mick Green, Wilko Johnson) 4:00
03."Back in the Night" (Wilko Johnson) 3:18
04."Another Man" (Wilko Johnson) 2:55
05."Rolling and Tumbling" (Morganfield) 3:12
06."Don't Let Your Daddy Know" (Wilko Johnson) 2:57
07."Watch Your Step" (Bobby Parker) 3:23
08."Don't You Just Know It" (Huey "Piano" Smith, Johnny Vincent) 3:49
09."Riot in Cell Block No. 9" (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) 3:40
10."Because You're Mine" (Wilko Johnson, Nick Lowe, Sparks) 4:54
11."You Shouldn't Call the Doctor (If You Can't Afford the Bills)" (Wilko Johnson) 2:36
Size: 100 MB
Ripped by: ChriosGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Of all the blues greats of the 40s, 50s and 60s, Aleck "Rice" Miller's output was of the most consistently high quality, and this tremendous album is one of the best blues LPs I have ever heard.
If you're not completely satisfied by the double-disc MCA/Chess anthology, "The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson", his four LPs "Down And Out Blues", "Help Me", "One Way Out" and "Bummer Road" are all must-own purchases, and this one ranks alongside 1959's "Down And Out Blues" as Miller's very best.
He is backed by superstar sidemen like Otis Spann, Luther Tucker, Fred Below, Robert "Jr." Lockwood, and Willie Dixon, and "Bummer Road" includes one of his least recognized, yet very best songs, the magnificent "Santa Claus" (raspiest vocal delivery ever), but virtually every track is a burner, really, including the classic, swinging "Your Funeral And My Trial", the sizzling "Temperature 110", the slow, smouldering "Open Road", and the legendary "Little Village", a full twelve minutes of takes, re-takes, and related cursing and arguing.
It was the reissue producer's decision to put this entire track on the first side of this collection, complete with a severe warning that the proceedings are not suitable for airplay (they still aren't).
Blues fans rushed to this track immediately, of course, and they were not disappointed in this highly entertaining (and enlightning) slice of recording-studio life that is revealed here. This is definitely one of the best examples of enlarging the scope of a musical track by adding auxiliary material that wasn't originally meant for release.
01. She Got Next To Me
02. Santa Claus
03. Little Village
04. Your Funeral & My Trial
05. Lonesome Cabin
06. I Can't Do Without You
07. Temperature 110
08. Unseen Eye
09. Keep Your Hand Out Of My Pocket
10. Open Road
11. This Old Life
Size: 70.1 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Vee Jay's 1964 album John Lee Hooker on Campus is titled to sound like a live recording but it isn't. As part of the Collectables Vee Jay reissue campaign, these 12 tracks originally tried to capitalize on Hooker's emergence on the coffeehouse/college tours he was involved in at the time. This is an electric album that contains excellent material from Hooker, even though the occasional background singers get in the way, attempting to modernize his gritty blues with a smoother soul sound. All of the Vee Jay reissues of John Lee Hooker material are worth having and are budget priced as a bonus.
He was beloved worldwide as the king of the endless boogie, a genuine blues superstar whose droning, hypnotic one-chord grooves were at once both ultra-primitive and timeless. But John Lee Hooker recorded in a great many more styles than that over a career that stretched across more than half a century.
"The Hook" was a Mississippi native who became the top gent on the Detroit blues circuit in the years following World War II. The seeds for his eerily mournful guitar sound were planted by his stepfather, Will Moore, while Hooker was in his teens. Hooker had been singing spirituals before that, but the blues took hold and simply wouldn't let go. Overnight visitors left their mark on the youth, too: legends like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Blind Blake, who all knew Moore.
Hooker heard Memphis calling while he was still in his teens, but he couldn't gain much of a foothold there. So he relocated to Cincinnati for a seven-year stretch before making the big move to the Motor City in 1943. Jobs were plentiful, but Hooker drifted away from day gigs in favor of playing his unique free-form brand of blues. A burgeoning club scene along Hastings Street didn't hurt his chances any.
In 1948, the aspiring bluesman hooked up with entrepreneur Bernie Besman, who helped him hammer out his solo debut sides, "Sally Mae" and its seminal flip, "Boogie Chillen." This was blues as primitive as anything then on the market; Hooker's dark, ruminative vocals were backed only by his own ringing, heavily amplified guitar and insistently pounding foot. Their efforts were quickly rewarded. Los Angeles-based Modern Records issued the sides and "Boogie Chillen" -- a colorful, unique travelogue of Detroit's blues scene -- made an improbable jaunt to the very peak of the R&B charts.
Modern released several more major hits by "the Boogie Man" after that: "Hobo Blues" and its raw-as-an-open wound flip, "Hoogie Boogie"; "Crawling King Snake Blues" (all three 1949 smashes); and the unusual 1951 chart-topper "I'm in the Mood," where Hooker overdubbed his voice three times in a crude early attempt at multi-tracking.
But Hooker never, ever let something as meaningless as a contract stop him for making recordings for other labels. His early catalog is stretched across a road map of diskeries so complex that it's nearly impossible to fully comprehend (a vast array of recording aliases don't make things any easier).
Along with Modern, Hooker recorded for King (as the geographically challenged Texas Slim), Regent (as Delta John, a far more accurate handle), Savoy (as the wonderfully surreal Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar), Danceland (as the downright delicious Little Pork Chops), Staff (as Johnny Williams), Sensation (for whom he scored a national hit in 1950 with "Huckle Up, Baby"), Gotham, Regal, Swing Time, Federal, Gone (as John Lee Booker), Chess, Acorn (as the Boogie Man), Chance, DeLuxe (as Johnny Lee), JVB, Chart, and Specialty; before finally settling down at Vee-Jay in 1955 under his own name. Hooker became the point man for the growing Detroit blues scene during this incredibly prolific period, recruiting guitarist Eddie Kirkland as his frequent duet partner while still recording for Modern.
Once tied in with Vee-Jay, the rough-and-tumble sound of Hooker's solo and duet waxings was adapted to a band format. Hooker had recorded with various combos along the way before, but never with sidemen as versatile and sympathetic as guitarist Eddie Taylor and harpist Jimmy Reed, who backed him at his initial Vee-Jay date that produced "Time Is Marching" and the superfluous sequel "Mambo Chillun."
Taylor stuck around for a 1956 session that elicited two genuine Hooker classics, "Baby Lee" and "Dimples," and he was still deftly anchoring the rhythm section (Hooker's sense of timing was his and his alone, demanding big-eared sidemen) when the Boogie Man finally made it back to the R&B charts in 1958 with "I Love You Honey."
Vee-Jay presented Hooker in quite an array of settings during the early '60s. His grinding, tough blues "No Shoes" proved a surprisingly sizable hit in 1960, while the storming "Boom Boom," his top seller for the firm in 1962 (it even cracked the pop airwaves), was an infectious R&B dance number benefiting from the reported presence of some of Motown's house musicians. But there were also acoustic outings aimed squarely at the blossoming folk-blues crowd, as well as some attempts at up-to-date R&B that featured highly intrusive female background vocals (allegedly by the Vandellas) and utterly unyielding structures that hemmed Hooker in unmercifully.
British blues bands such as the Animals and Yardbirds idolized Hooker during the early '60s; Eric Burdon's boys cut a credible 1964 cover of "Boom Boom" that outsold Hooker's original on the American pop charts. Hooker visited Europe in 1962 under the auspices of the first American Folk Blues Festival, leaving behind the popular waxings "Let's Make It" and "Shake It Baby" for foreign consumption.
Back home, Hooker cranked out gems for Vee-Jay through 1964 ("Big Legs, Tight Skirt," one of his last offerings on the logo, was also one of his best), before undergoing another extended round of label-hopping (except this time, he was waxing whole LPs instead of scattered 78s). Verve-Folkways, Impulse, Chess, and BluesWay all enticed him into recording for them in 1965-1966 alone! His reputation among hip rock cognoscenti in the States and abroad was growing exponentially, especially after he teamed up with blues-rockers Canned Heat for the massively selling album Hooker 'n' Heat in 1970.
Eventually, though, the endless boogie formula grew incredibly stagnant. Much of Hooker's 1970s output found him laying back while plodding rock-rooted rhythm sections assumed much of the work load. A cameo in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers was welcome, if far too short.
But Hooker wasn't through; not by a long shot. With the expert help of slide guitarist extraordinaire/producer Roy Rogers, the Hook waxed The Healer, an album that marked the first of his guest star-loaded albums (Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Robert Cray were among the luminaries to cameo on the disc, which picked up a Grammy).
Major labels were just beginning to take notice of the growing demand for blues records, and Pointblank snapped Hooker up, releasing Mr. Lucky (this time teaming Hooker with everyone from Albert Collins and John Hammond to Van Morrison and Keith Richards). Once again, Hooker was resting on his laurels by allowing his guests to wrest much of the spotlight away from him on his own album, but by then, he'd earned it. Another Pointblank set, Boom Boom, soon followed.
Happily, Hooker enjoyed the good life throughout the '90s. He spent much of his time in semi-retirement, splitting his relaxation time between several houses acquired up and down the California coast. When the right offer came along, though, he took it, including an amusing TV commercial for Pepsi. He also kept recording, releasing such star-studded efforts as 1995's Chill Out and 1997's Don't Look Back. All this helped him retain his status as a living legend, and he remained an American musical icon; and his stature wasn't diminished upon his death from natural causes on June 21, 2001.
01. Bottle Up And Go
02. Half A Stranger
03. I'm Leaving
04. Love Is A Burning Thing
05. Birmingham Blues
06. I Want To Shout
07. Don't Look Back
08. I Want To Hug You
09. Poor Me
10. I Want To Ramble
11. My Grinding Mill
12. One Way Ticket