Prognosis

I was busy with another project (building a guitar) and didn’t have any ideas until last night when I went through the library and started pulling tunes. Even then, it doesn’t always work, and I admit I’ve spent days tinkering with the sequence. Not this time.

I grew up with Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, ELP, and the rest.
None of them are featured here.
This is music I’m less familiar with than usual.
Most of it is from years of trolling blog sites for things I’d only read about in the past.

For example, Mogul Thrash is the band John Wetton left to join Family, before leaving them for King Crimson. I never expected to find it, but thanks to the internet, I have FLAC files.

I hope you like mellotron.

I tended towards shorter songs when possible. My favorite Genesis song, for instance, “Supper’s Ready” is a whole album side and clocks in over 20 minutes. Add “Close To The Edge”, and “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic Pt 1″, and there’s an entirely epic cd length mix.

The Italians really “got” Prog and some of the best bands were from there. “Impressioni Di Settembre”, an old favorite, was somewhat blandly re-recorded by PFM in english as “The World Became The World”, the title track to their second american release, but I’ve always preferred the original Italian version.

Also here is Il Volo, another of the best, represented by “Il Canto Della Preistoria (Molecule)”, which also transcends it’s lack of english with some truly extraordinary guitar sounds.

Amon Düül II is from Germany, and technically krautrock.

Aphrodite’s Child is from Greece, and features Vangelis, long before “Chariots Of Fire”.

Brian Davison was the drummer in the Nice. This 1970 solo album is nothing like his former band.

Tempest was a power trio freaturing Ollie Halsall, sadly best known for playing “Paul” on The Rutles recordings. He briefly joined this band, wrote all the songs, and sang lead on the album they recorded and left, to play with Kevin Ayers.

Bram Stoker is a band who left behind an album with nary a trace of other info. This is one of those that collectors go nuts for. Same goes for Pete Fine’s.

I only downloaded Aubrey Small a few days ago, and barely know “Smoker Will Blow”. This description caught my eye:
“The recording experience at Trident became intoxicating and at times even became somewhat surreal. For one number “Smoker Will Blow”(producer)John Anthony had the idea of putting orchestration on the track as it was too simple. Within a matter of days arranger Richard Hewson appeared together with a huge assembly of the finest jazz and orchestral musicians available. Here was another highly respected musician who had a list of high profile credits to his name including the Beatles, Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Art Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, Chris Rea among others – another who’s who! The band watched from the control room with amazement as an extraordinary and complex soundscape unfolded on their song”.

Kaleidoscope was an English band whose roots were in ’60′s psychedelia, and released some really exceptional music, but for some reason ended up with less than nothing. This song is the closer to an album they finished in 1971, but didn’t see release until 1992.

Prognosis

Prognosis Too

Enjoy!
-BBJ

I liked the new neck so much I regretted not doing a better job painting it, so I repainted with 20 coats of lacquer, and upgraded the pickguard. Now it’s finally finished. 1987 Fender Japan 50′s reissue body with Fender licensed USA made late ’60′s style neck. Tuners, and except for the ’90′s Les Paul humbucker, original hardware.

(Before) Before And After

The cover art is a silk screen print I made in 1978.

I vaguely knew Eno as the guy Eddie Jobson replaced in Roxy Music. At the time I was only familiar their third and Eno-less album, “Stranded” (1973).
I picked “Here Come The Warm Jets”, Eno’s first, because it looked slightly glam, and the title Zappa/Beefheart/Alice Cooper loony. The song titles were just as nuts.
Then I saw that Robert Fripp and John Wetton, two of my favorite musicians from my favorite band, King Crimson were involved.
Buying it was a no-brainer.
It’s Proto-punk Glam rock is nothing like the ambient works he’s largely known for today.
“Baby’s On Fire” features a Robert Fripp solo over 3 minutes long, which stands as some of his most fiery work.
From “Here Come The Warm Jets” to “Burning Airlines Give You So Much More”,
“Taking Tiger Mountain(By Strategy)”, from 1974 is much less ramshackle, but fortunately just as quirky.
When “Another Green World” came out in 1975, things were changing. About half of it is instrumental, pointing the way to his groundbreaking ambient work, “Music For Airports”(1978).
Unlike his previous albums, which were recorded in a very short time, “Before and After Science” (1977) was two years in the making. I never got into that one. I thought it was a little slick and bland.
My original plan for this mix was to be career spanning. I began by listening to Disc 3 of the irritatingly packaged and annotated Eno Vocal Box.
It consists of “R.A.F.” b-side of “King’s Lead Hat”, cuts from “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” an impressive yet ultimately dull album, 90′s collaborations with John Cale, “Nerve Net”, and the withdrawn “My Squelchy Life”.
While it wasn’t entirely without charm, it bored me to death. So much so that I nearly gave up.
Fortunately I decided instead to start from the beginning.
There is something in his first 3 albums, that has been missing for decades.
It was before he knew what he was doing. Before success, acclaim, and high profile productions for other artists.
I’m a fan, and he’s been a huge influence on my work as a musician, and a painter. While I like and respect his recent work, these early attempts at rock stardom continue to scratch my itch for art damaged excellence.

Two songs are technically by Phil Manzanera. “Miss Shapiro” is from “Diamond Head” (1975). Eno co-writes and sings. “Third Uncle” is from “801 Live” (1976). He is the vocalist and writer. Backing musicians are the usual suspects.

Enjoy!
-BBJ

(Before) Before And After

Or

Before Too

A fun fact I ran across:

Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy (Chinese: 智取威虎山; pinyin: zhì qǔ wēihǔ shān) is a Chinese film from 1970, during the height of the Cultural Revolution. The film was directed by Xie Tieli and was based on a contemporary Beijing opera, one of the eight model plays allowed during the Cultural Revolution. The story is based on the novel Lin hai xue yuan (林海雪原) and tells the story of an incident in 1946, during the Chinese Civil War.
Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy has been identified as one of the most watched films of all time. Official Chinese government statistics claimed a total audience of 7.3 billion through the end of 1974. The large audience can be attributed to the fact that few films were produced during the Cultural Revolution, and almost all earlier films were banned; nevertheless, the average village held ten film showings per year, and failure to attend could have been seen as a sign of political deviation. Hence, Chinese citizens would have been expected to see the film multiple times during the Cultural Revolution era.

A Saucerful Of Tears

Five guys, one bike.

Pink Floyd’s sophomore effort could very well be the worst of all time. Syd Barrett, their guiding light, and principal songwriter, became the goose that laid the golden eggs, and infamously flamed out, leaving them at the apex and in the middle of recording. I don’t think it was just acid, or insanity. I think forming a band was fun, but it suddenly becoming a vocation, and pop stardom stopped being so. He really wanted to be a painter, and he was a pretty good one from what I’ve seen.

Anyway the rest of the band found themselves in quite the pickle with an album begun and no songs. The title track can only be described as a composition, as it’s not a song or even music,really, except for the last section by Richard Wright, which I’ve used as a long intro to “See Saw”. My band, The Smoove Sailors write more interesting “jams” every week than the title tune.

I’ve been thinking about fixing A Saucerful Of Secrets for a long time. It was the unlistenable half of A Nice Pair, and just as bad as Ummagumma (The best part of which is the picture of all the gear on the back). A Saucerful of Tears is almost long enough to be a double album. Like if the White album lost “Revolution 9″ and “Goodnight”, which I would never miss.

It’s the most democratic Floyd album as it features at least four songwriters and five singers.

I’ve compiled all the Syd Barrett songs recorded after their debut, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, including the still unreleased “Vegetable Man”, and “Scream Thy Last Scream”, plus a couple singles with David Gilmour from the same period, but not on the album.

“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” is not my favorite, but is the only one involving all five members. “A Jolly Bunch of Pop Tunes” Syd might say.

I think it plays rather well, and because it’s all from the same period, could have been released this way. Enjoy!

Rehearsing for “The Wall”

 

A Saucerful Of Tears

There and Back Again

Going (Down The Road Feeling) Good

Here is a mix of quirky, atmospheric, and mostly upbeat instrumentals for barreling down the highway and enjoying the open road.

And get home safe

http://www34.zippyshare.com/v/99593151/file.html

Sodoma E Gomorra

 

Even if you use a mirror, it’s still in Italian

Call me crazy, but I like Italian Prog. I don’t know how long I’ve had this in my hard drive, or where it came from, but it rocks. And hard. This song is a kickass instrumental. The rest of the album has standard, but not odious, hard rock vocals.
It would have been a classic if made by an American, British, or even Australian band.

from http://www.italianprog.com

Il Rovescio della Medaglia were formed in Rome around the end of 1970 from the ashes of the beat band I Lombrichi. Enzo Vita, Stefano Urso e Gino Campoli founded the group, that had as lead singer first Gianni Mereu (not the guitarist of Logan Dwight), then Sandro Falbo (from Le Rivelazioni) and soon later Pino Ballarini, who had moved to Rome from Pescara where he played with Poema.
Their first great success was at Viareggio Pop festival and they soon became one of the most popular live bands in Italy during the early 70′s.

First LP La Bibbia, released in 1971, was basically a very good hard-rock album with slight prog influences, recorded live in studio and accompanied by a distinctive round medallion-shaped booklet
The second one, Io come io a year later, was in the same style, with ambitious philosophical lyrics inspired from Hegel works. A short album (less than 30 minutes) but again a really good one!

In 1973 a fifth member was added, keyboard player Franco Di Sabbatino, also from Pescara, like Pino Ballarini, and briefly with Il Paese dei Balocchi.
With their sound enriched by the keyboards, Il Rovescio released the third album, Contaminazione, with the help of argentine composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov, who had already worked with New Trolls for their Concerto Grosso and Osanna.
The album was obviously more in a symphonic direction, and was also released in an English-sung version and issued in many foreign countries, to try to launch the group abroad. The English language album appeared in Italy in 1975 only, when the band had already split up.

By this time the band was being renowned for their powerful performances, always played at the loudest possible volume and helped by a unique sound system. This is what the Contamination LP liner notes said about it (originally written in English, mistakes and all…): “Their instrumentation is among the moste interesting in Europe. The 6000 watt Mack vocal equipment is quadrophonic and is equivalent to 36 track amplifiers. The console table is really a portable recording studio with filters, compressors, etc. The guitar, the battery and the keyboards have 900 watt amplifiers. The keyboards consist of a vertical B Hammond organ, a harmonium, an eminent for the reproduction of strings, two VCS synthesizers, a 200 Harp [it was probably an ARP], and two mini moog synthesizers. The lighting equipment is also important. There are 50 spotlights which produce colors and special effects. On a special screen behind the group, slides and films are projected to produce abstract musical effects.”.
Not bad for an Italian band, and no one else in Italy had such a powerful live act!

But… in December 1973 the stealing of their big and expensive PA brought the band close to the end, with Pino Ballarini leaving for Switzerland (briefly replaced by Michele Zarrillo from Semiramis) and the others continuing as an instrumental-only band. The live album Giudizio avrai, privately released by the band in the late 80′s, contains a recording from this period, with the band’s sound dominated by the keyboards.

Last release is a single from 1975 (there’s a mention on its cover of a new album, but this was never released), then the band had various line-up changes up to 1977.

Bassist Stefano Urso founded Europe, authors in the early 80′s of an album (Bubble BLU-19609) and some singles in pop/rock style.
In early 90′s guitarist Enzo Vita reformed the band with a new line-up and released a new CD called Il ritorno, different from their past production and more AOR-inspired, as its followers Vitae (recorded earlier) and Microstorie, issued in 2011.

Sodoma E Gomorra

PFM

 
 
 

Bad Art

Bad Art

Somehow not as bad

Somehow not as bad

PFM were the epitome of Italian Prog Rock.
I bought these records back in the day. I heard “Celebration” on FM radio and was immediately hooked. I bought the album, “Photos Of Ghosts” in 1973. Since I regularly thumbed through the import racks at the local Licorice Pizza it wasn’t long until I found the imports, which I also bought. I have always preferred them to the English language versions, and apparently so did they, by firing the lyricist, Peter Sinfield,  not long after. He did get a little over-ripe sometimes. In 2000 I spent a month in Tokyo. I was housed at the Sofitel overlooking beautiful Ueno Park.

I had a pretty memorable experience with an earthquake as my hotel room was on the 18th floor. People were still buying cd’s back then, so the record stores were the absolute bomb. I bought these cd’s, plus other long lost prog rock favorites. This music has never ceased to float my boat.  Now, especially when I hear “Impression Di Settembre”, incredible Tokyo is evoked with my view from the 18th floor between tremors.  And the mini-bar.

Here’s wiki:
In early 1972, PFM released their first album, ”Storia di un minuto”. The album topped the Italian charts after only one week and was the first album by an Italian rock group to achieve this kind of success. It contained re-recorded versions of songs from the first single, as well as “È Festa” and “Dove… Quando…” which continue to be essential parts of their live concerts.

Later in 1972 saw the release of their second LP, ”Per un amico”. This album opened the way to broader audience recognition all across Europe. It featured a more sophisticated Multitrack recording|16-track production and allowed the group continue to refine their special combination of symphonic classical and traditional Italian musical influences in a rock context. Later, an English language version was re-recorded and re-mixed.

PFM came to the attention of Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer during an Italian tour and PFM were signed to Manticore Records. The first album on Manticore, ”Photos of Ghosts” was released in late 1973. It contained mostly remakes of songs from ”Per un amico” in English. New lyrics (not translations) were written for the album by former King Crimson member Peter Sinfield, who also helped produce the re-recording and mixing at Advision Studios in London. ”Photos of Ghosts” was released all across Europe, Japan, and North America and represented the first real attempt by an Italian rock band to break into foreign markets. It was one of the first recordings by a European rock group to have significant chart success in the USA. The album also contained a new instrumental “Old Rain”, one song in Italian, “Il Banchetto” (“The Banquet”), as well as “Celebration (PFM song)|Celebration”, (a remake of “È Festa”) which received considerable airplay on album oriented rock stations in the U.S.A and Canada.

Impressioni Di Settembre

Per Un Amico

E Festa

Peter Hammill-Candle

 

Van Der Graaf were one of the more challenging prog rock listens back in the day. This is from another record that narrowly missed burning up in the Malibu House fire.  Sounds like it could be off any number of David Bowie’s pre-Ziggy efforts.

Wiki:

Fool’s Mate is the debut solo album by Peter Hammill of progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. The title is both a chess and tarot reference. It was produced by Trident Studios’ in-house producer John Anthony. The album was recorded in 1971, in the midst of one of Van der Graaf Generator’s most prolific periods. Hammill used the album to record a backlog of songs which were much shorter and simpler than his Van der Graaf Generator material, and declared on the original album sleeve: “This isn’t intended to be any kind of statement of my present musical position, but at the same time, it is an album which involves a great deal of me, the person, basically a return to the roots.”

Fool’s Mate includes one of Hammill’s most celebrated love songs, “Vision”, which he still performs regularly in concert to the present day. Guest musicians on the album included the members of Van der Graaf Generator, members of his label mates Lindisfarne, and guitarist Robert Fripp.

The UK music press was generally very positive about Fool’s Mate. Melody Maker saw “one of THE albums of the year”.

The cover was designed by Paul Whitehead who at the time was the favourite cover artist for Charisma bands Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator.

In 2005 the album was issued in remastered form by EMI Virgin Records, supplemented with bonus demo recordings of several songs.

Candle

200px-Peter_Hammill_Fool's_MatePeter+Hammill+Van_Der_Graff_Hammil_1971

No Opportunity Necessary

 
I copied this from Wiki.  I’ll add that this is the album opener, and that it was written by Richie Havens.

Time and a Word is the second album by progressive rock band Yes, released in mid-1970 in the UK and November 1970 in the US.

This was the last Yes album to feature the group’s original line-up, as Peter Banks was fired before the album’s release.

With the ambitious decision to use string arrangements on most of the album’s songs, Peter’s role as a guitarist was diminished. Tensions within the band increased, and just after the album’s recording was completed in early 1970, Peter was asked to leave, which he reluctantly did. Steve Howe would join the line-up that March, replacing Banks. The album also includes three songs Jon Anderson wrote with David Foster, a former band mate in The Warriors. The US and UK releases had different album artwork; the UK version had black-and-white drawing of a nude woman, but this was deemed inappropriate in the US, so the cover there showed a picture of the band. Despite appearing on the US cover, Steve Howe does not play on the album. The back cover of both versions features photographs of the band members, including Peter Banks.

Time and a Word’s use of heavy strings seemed intrusive to some critics, and while the album was received in a lukewarm fashion upon its release (UK #45, Yes’ first chart entry at home), it is more warmly remembered today.

With the acquisition of Steve Howe, the band would start to compose, rehearse, and record the music for The Yes Album over the summer and autumn of 1970. The album, released the following spring, would finally earn the band their success. In effect, Time and a Word marks the end of Yes’s formative, yet musically significant, period.

Time and a Word (Atlantic 2400 006) reached #45 in the UK. It never charted in the US.

No Opportunity Necessary

Every Little Thing

 
Another Beatles cover. I can’t say it tops the original, but it’s very big and busy, and is well worth hearing more than once. It’s Yes from their first album “Yes”, released in 1969. Original Guitarist Peter Banks is featured, and does a fine job. Not sure why they kicked him out. He’s about the only member that left and didn’t come back at some point. He started a band called Flash, which sounded identical to Yes, except with the “suck” knob turned way up. Banks also plays on Yes’ second,”Time And A Word”, although Steve Howe is on the cover. Tony Kaye is the keyboard player. With Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, and Chris Squire.
I can’t remember the last time I heard the original. Obviously I love the Beatles, but I took them off the daily playlist decades ago.

Every Little Thing