Formerly known as The Action, this Mod band from London’s Kentish Town were reputedly the best band George Martin signed to the EMI label in the mid-Sixties.
As the musical landscape changed towards the latter half of the decade though, so did The Action, adopting more of a ‘West Coast’ psychedelic approach to their music. However, their deal with EMI was terminated prior to their last planned single could be released.
They continued recording various demos under the new guise of Azoth, these only finally being released in 1985 by Castle, as a mini-album, ‘Action Speaks Louder Than Words.’
Months of hard touring resulted in them finally signing to the small independent Head label in 1969 at which time they took on the name Mighty Baby.
Their debut, eponymous album was recorded but as so often seemed to have happened, the label went bust before any formal UK release – although a deal had been signed with Chess Records in USA who did make some copies available.
Suffice to say, copies of this album are pretty rare and exchange hands for several hundred pounds.
The album itself is a mix of quiet folk infused psychedelic tracks mixed with blues rock and prog rock, the highlight being, for me, the opening track on side one: ‘Egyptian Tomb,’ with its distinctive ‘eastern’ psychedelic sound.
Mighty Baby sound a quintessentially British ‘hippie’ type band, featuring a flute and sax, but not averse to breaking out into heavy riffs and rocking, boogie interludes.
Counting ex-Savoy Brown guitarist Martin Stone and future Ace founder Alan King in their number, they could also turn their hand to some excellent blues numbers like the following, ‘I’ve Been Down So Long.’
Continuing with the hard gigging ethos that brought them to this point, Mighty Baby spent the next two years on the Festival circuit and playing numerous radio and studio sessions. (They were the closing act on the first day of the famous Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.)
1971 saw the culmination of all this hard work with the release of the band’s second, and final album, ‘A Jug Of Love.‘ By this time, several members had turned to the Muslim faith, and the album, being more tranquil and wistful than their debut seems to reflect their new outlook on life.
Despite the critical acclaim, the album failed to shift in any great number and in autumn 1971, the band were forced to call it a day.
Alan King – Guitar / Vocals Martin Stone – Lead Guitar / Slide Guitar Michael Evans – Bass Ian Whiteman – Flute / Organ / Sax / Piano / Percussion / Vocals Roger Powell – Drums
For those of us frequenting gigs, or ‘concerts’ as they were more often described in the ‘70s, there was always one main talking point on the bus journey back home – the mind-blowing ‘solo.’
In this short, occasional series, we’ll have a listen to some of my favourite, ‘less obvious ‘solos from the ‘70s.
So, let’s …kick out the jams, mofos, and start with the GUITAR!
It may have been a rehearsed and integral part of a song; a short impromptu guitar lick; a prolonged jam involving several players taking turns to lead; an awe inspiring drum solo; a smooth sax piece; a finger-blurring burst on the keyboards … whatever. It was generally the highlight of the show.
With particular regard to guitarists, regular visitors to this blog will fully expect me to include at least one example of Rory Gallagher’s searing, blues infused playing. But that would be just too obvious; so too would likes of Allen Collins and Gary Rossington sharing solos on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s‘Fee Bird.’ Or Jimmy Page on any one of a number of Led Zeppelin tracks. Or that Hendrix dude, when it comes to it.
The three I’ve highlighted below are indeed still particular favourites of mine, but for differing reasons. They are by what I’d consider under-appreciated artists in the ‘70s, though I’m sure they’ll be familiar to some. However, I’d say they are not of the ‘household names’ that would spring to mind when asked about the pantheon of great guitarists.
I’m not saying they’re ‘the best’ guitar solos in rock music, but I do regard all three as some of the most enjoyable.
Please feel free to suggest your own / debate the selection in the Comments section below, and / or post your own favourite on our Facebook Group Page.
OK – here we go:
#3: TEN YEARS AFTER: ‘I’m Going Home.’
Guitarist Alvin Lee formed The Jaybirds as a straight-up R&B trio in early Sixties, Nottingham, England. For a while they backed The Ivy League, and in 1966, like so many beat bands of the time, they spent some time developing and playing in Hamburg, Germany.
They became a popular live act and upon change of management in 1966, also changed their name to Ten Years After – reflecting their new start some ten years after Elvis Presley rose to prominence.
They had released three albums by the summer of 1969, and established a reputation as one of the UK’s most popular bands. However, in August of that year, Ten Years After, really hit the big time, when their appearance at the Woodstock Festival was filmed, highlighting Lee’s speed guitar prowess.
The video above has been edited, I’m sure, for I have a recording of the festival and this song runs to over nine minutes.
Ten Years After would record several more albums throughout the early / mid Seventies, and cement their reputation as possibly the best blues rock band in the country (in truth, second best to Rory Gallagher!) before disbanding in 1975.
I love this particular performance and solos because it’s almost proto-punk in nature, brash and frantic, yet encompasses some raw boogie and classic rock ‘n’roll too.
And yes, I guess I should come clean, there IS a resemblance to many a Rory performance here!
#2: ROY BUCHANAN: ‘Roy’s Bluz.’
I really can’t recall how I came to love the music of Roy Buchanan. I did buy his LP, ‘That’s What I Am Here For’ as a fifteen year old, back in 1973. I presume I must gone down the Blues rabbit hole, having discovered, yes you guessed, Rory Gallagher the year previous!
Roy Buchanan was born in 1939 and brought up in rural communities of both Arkansas and California, where he was heavily influenced by the gospel music of his local churches, and the music heard on his radio.
He would, at age nineteen, record with Dale Hawkins who himself leant heavily on the influences of Louisiana ‘swamp’ music and mixed the blues sound of the local black artists with the ‘new’ rock ‘n’ roll style being popularised by Elvis etc..
Although not widely successful in a commercial sense, Roy Buchanan was held in high regard by fellow musicians, and reportedly, after Brian Jones’s death in the summer of 1969, he was asked to join The Rolling Stones. (So was Rory Gallagher in case you were interested!)
He declined the offer, concerned that he’d become more embroiled in the drink and drugs culture that surrounded the greatest band in the world. He was also a famously shy man, and suffered some mental health issues. His voice was soft, and he had concerns about playing large venues and so never really became a ‘superstar’ as we’d now regard it.
Sadly, Roy Buchanan took his own life after being arrested following a drunken domestic dispute … though his cause of death remains questioned by his family.
As a lad, I was so enthralled by Roy Buchanan’s playing. I loved Blues music anyway, but his style just seemed so ‘clean’ and unassuming. Hey – I can’t play a note on any instrument. I don’t do the technical stuff. I just know what I like.
And I still love the music of Roy Buchanan – one of rock’s true unsung heroes.
#1: ALBERT LEE: ‘Luxury Liner.’
I could play this song on endless repeat! (The first video is from a performance by Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977.)
This particular track convinced me (a) I was in love with Emmylou Harris, and (b) that Albert Lee was at that point, the best guitarist I’d never heard of. I reckon he’s STILL the best many people have never heard of.
Albert Lee grew up in London and first gained recognition playing guitar for Chris Farlowe and his band, The Thunderbirds. He moved on to play with Heads, Hands & Feet for a while, before in 1974 moving to Los Angeles.
This was where he really found his feet, and more importantly, his hands. As a renowned session musician, his finger-picking style of play proved a perfect fit for the rock ‘n’ roll and country based music he’d be booked for. He played on three albums by The Crickets amongst others and for a period towards the end of the Seventies was hired to play with Eric Clapton – no competition there, in my book!
Albert Lee has played with the great and the good of Rock and Country over the years and was awarded Guitar Magazine’s ‘Best Country Guitarist; five times.
Why do I love Albert’s playing so much? Sheesh! Really ….?
(Here’s a later video of Albert playing the same song – kid’s still got it!)
(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – August 2022)
From the opening James Gang type riff to the short drum solo that brings an end to final track ‘Changes‘ some thirty-seven minutes later, this album is steeped in ’60s and ’70s hard rock / blues rock.
‘Onwards Into Poseidon’s Fangs” is the debut album from Sondershausen (Germany) power trio, Odysses.
It was always the intention they produce a jam-based, bluesey album, but as the writing and recording progressed, more psychedelic and hard rock elements almost organically emerged.
The result is an LP covering all bases of late ’60s to mid-’70s rock music.
Opening track, ‘The Curse,’ hinges around an infectious, simple riff, distinctive vocals and as in all other six tracks, a really tight rhythm section. It’s mid-paced, with a very pronounced bass line that drives the track forward. Guitarist Benjamin Kreibe gives the listener an early taste of his guitar proficiency with a short ‘wah wah’ solo towards the finish.
‘Stumbling Away’ is next up – again a very heavy bass to the fore.
And then the title track slots in – see top video. This is a truly epic track, further enhanced on the album by the keyboard playing of Marty Sennewald. The track falls into various stages and gives room for solos from both Marty and Benjamin. Nothing too indulgent – just perfect, with shades of Uriah Heep and Argent, perhaps. Word also for Vincent Muller on drums who holds everything together with steadfast and rolling beats.
This was the first song the three members wrote together as a band – setting quite high bar, I’d say! I love this track.
‘Sheria,’ seems to harbour some dark undertones mixed with a distinct psychedelic feel. This is followed by the three minute instrumental, ‘Fire.’ Rocking riffs with a sort of buzz-saw guitar hook and again, drums to the fore.
Penultimate track, ‘Egypt,‘ is a strange one – strange in a good way, that is. For all Odysses are predominately 60s and 70s Hard / Blues Rock influenced, the first half of this track make me think of Rage Against The Machine. The second half (and there are two distinct halves to this one) has a bouncy, jazz type bass, with siren like guitar sounding something a punk band like Buzzcocks may have come up with.
This leads to the final track, ‘Changes.‘ A great track this – a real slow, moody blues track. I definitely get the feel of Robin Trower on this one.
All in all, this is a terrific album. It doesn’t seek to change the wheel, but serves up a great variation of blues / hard rock styles. While Odysses‘ influences may be well declared, there is still a contemporary feel to their playing.
It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Benjamin Kreibe – Vocals / Guitar / Theramin Vincent Muller – Drums Thomas Huhne – Drums
Jawless are a heavy rock / stoner /doom band from Bandung, Indonesia. Their debut album, ‘Warrizer’ was self released in February 2022 via Bandcamp.
‘Warrizer’ is the central character to the eight songs on this album, the lyrics throughout reflecting the troubled situation he perceives his life and indeed the world to be in.
Musically, ‘Warrizer‘ gets off to a storming start with ‘G.O.D.’Jawless are most definitely channeling their inner Black Sabbath on this one! It’s an epic track of almost eight minutes length, typically doom laden for the first half, then exploding into a frenzied second period. The vocals are pretty distinct too,sounding quite unfiltered and totally ‘live.’ By that I mean they have the resonance of a stage performance, and I can easily imagine this having been a band from the early ’70s belting the song out from a big Festival stage.
‘War Is Come’ is again down the mid-tempo route with big, stomping riffs and pounding drums. ‘Dark Muzzling‘ is the longest track, spanning almost eight minutes. It’s more of the same, really – atmospheric and heavy, with a lighter, final minute ‘outro.’
‘Deceptive Events’ starts out a little quieter but soon develops dark undertones. There is a danger here that for the first half of the six minutes duration, it becomes just an extension oft the two preceding tracks, but fortunately the pace picks up in the second stanza.
‘Bad Excursion‘ is one of my favourite tracks This may be because it has a bit of a ’70s vibe to it, with short, snappy guitar riffs and a more upbeat tempo. ‘Metaphorical Speech‘ is again more of a ‘rocker’ and, I think, what Jawless do best.
‘Restrained‘ continues the pace, with a slower mid-section that soon rises again for the final two minutes. Final track ‘The Throne of Tramp‘ sees a return to the Sabbath-esque doom heavy, head nod inducing sound.
All in all, while ‘Warrizer’ may not be exactly ground-breaking in its substance, it is an entertaining fifty minutes, with a good mix of doom inspired and plain, good, old fashioned heavy rock.
Know how you’ll be in the queue at the supermarket when it dawns, though you have no idea who they are, the person stood behind you is a sportsman / sportswoman of some fame? Or you’re at a gig and as they take to the stage, before even striking a note, you know the unknown support band are going to be great? Or you hear a band, previously unknown to you, in Bandcamp and realize within seconds they are class; top quality and playing just the sounds you like to hear?
What connects the three examples above, is they have ‘presence.’ There is an aura surrounding these people that sets them distinct to others in their field.
Such is the case with Paralyzed. a hard rock band from Bamberg, Germany.
You only have to look as far as the MUSIC PAST page on this very blog to see what kind of music excites me – and more to the point, excites me sufficiently to make more people aware… and write about it.
And all that helps explain what attracted me to this band the moment I clicked on their new album, ‘Heavy Road.’
I have to concede knowing very little about Paralyzed other that they formed in 2019, and have just released their second album, a follow-up to January 2021’s eponymous debut LP.
There was also an excellent value, seven track, thirty-four minutes long, EP release ‘Hidden Sun‘ back in the year of their formation, and a seven minute long digital single release, ‘This Woman’ in 2020. (Tracks from‘Heavy Road,’ ‘Paralyzed’and ”Hidden Sun‘ form the ‘live’ set that features at the end of this piece.)
‘Heavy Road’ comprises eight tracks over around forty minutes duration. It is pretty much rooted in a ’70s Rock feel, and thus, just my bag!
Album opener is ‘Devil’s Bride.’ From the opening vocal, there’s a very distinctive sense of Jim Morrison / Doors, which hooked me right away. It ‘modern’ terms, you’d say the riff, for the first three minutes of the seven and a half, is quite doom laden. The song then erupts in intensity and pace. Vocalist Michael Binder seems to morph into a Ian Astbury (The Cult) while executing a couple of searing guitar solos. A terrific start.
‘Orange Carpet,‘ has a real chugging riff. No nonsense hard rock, pure and simple. ‘Mayday’ is more of a mid-tempo, smokey, bluesy number, again with head-nod inducing riff. ‘Black Trees Pt 1‘ opens in dark mood; heavy blues at its finest – slightly rasping vocals over the top of moody, wah wah type guitar solos and deep, resounding bass lines.
‘Pilgrim Boots,‘ is the second track, after the opener, to breach the seven minute mark. Again, there is an undeniable Doors comparison to be made, but hey – that’s all pretty cool by me! Caterina Bohner’s organ work is more noticable on this one, and overall, the track has a vibrant, boogie feel to it.
‘Black Trees Pt 2‘ chugs away for three and a half minutes – all upbeat and again with a couple neat guitar solos thrown in. ‘Coal Mine’ is another slow burner. Building as it progresses, the bass line adopts a doom style feel, threatening; menacing. Michael’s vocal seem to become angrier and his guitar raging.
And then we’re at the album closer, ‘White Jar.‘ Straight off we’re into a short guitar solo, with the organ dancing in the background. More ‘wah wah’ guitar blends in mid-track alongside an almost funky bass line this time. A strong fnish!
I’ve made reference to Paralyzed being very ’70s rock inspired. And they are – or at least they sound that way. Yet – there is more to them than a band living in the past. They have incorporated modern elements into their music, but without going overboard in trying to be ‘different.’
Hard, driving rock will never die. And certainly not when the band producing it has such ‘presence.
One thing you sure won’t be on buying and listening to this album, is Paralyzed.
Michael Binder – Vocals / Lead Guitar Caterina Bohner – Organ / Rhythm Guitar Philipp Engelbrecht – Bass Florian Thiele – Drums
For the best part of fifty-two minutes, the power and maelstrom that is Man In The Woods raged around me. Yes, their new album, ‘Badlands ‘ runs to around fifty-two minutes – that’s a lot of bang for your buck, and I do mean ‘BANG.’
Formed in 2016, this four-piece heavy rock band from Isle of Man released their debut EP, ‘Badlands Part 1‘ in 2018. This consisted four tracks: ‘Icarus Landing‘; ‘Speedeater‘; ‘Toxicology,’ and ‘Angel of Gasoline.’
The intention was to write more tracks that would fit the narrative and release ‘Part 2’ at a later date. But of course, The World took a bit of a wrong turning and, well …
So now, with the additional five tracks written and recorded, the decision was taken to release both parts as one complete tale. Hence the longer than normal length of the new album.
In a sense, it was darkly ironic the pandemic and ensuing worldwide lockdown should delay the project. For the inspiration behind the music of Man In The Woods, is one of desolation; of depopulation; annihilation.
I hate to use the description ‘concept album’ because I think that may create an errant perception, but it is certainly ‘themed’ around the inspiration. in their own words:
” … the album looks at the apocalypse which starts with an alien invasion documented in ‘Signals, Saucers and Satellites.’ The album is not in order of events and we chose to order the tracks in regards to the sound rather than the story. In a way we have ended up with a Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane narrative setup where sections of the story are not in order. But both those films and the concept is quite cool.
“So once the world has been pretty much depopulated by the invasion we look at individual stories within the same universe that don’t all link into one another but set a scene. If you imagine piecing together lots of letters written during WW1 in order to build up a picture of what people experienced, ‘Badlands’ does a similar thing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ is about the soldiers going to war; ‘Iron Strider‘ is about a lone vigilante type character, like Mad Max, who seeks revenge; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is about a priest who sacrifices himself after he believes God has left him. Over all each story hopefully leaves you feeling like it’s a shit environment to live.“
Musically, Man In The Woods have been tagged with just about every ‘heavy’ music related hashtag: ‘stoner,’ ‘doom,’ ‘psych,’ ‘rock,’ ‘desert rock,’ ‘sludge,’ …. it doesn’t really matter. I’ll probably do the same at the end of this piece! Truth is, ‘Badlands‘ really encapsulates them all at various points.
In a nutshell, the music throughout is typified by Marc’s gruff, rasping and growled vocals laying over the top of a heavy and, yes, at times, doom-laden bass line. Christian’s pounding a crushing drums permeate every track, while James and David provide the powerful guitar riffs that drive, rhythm and share some intricate solos.
Album opener is ‘Icarus Landing.‘
‘Speedeater,’ to me sounds a bit like a sped-up ‘stoner’ track, if that makes any sense. ‘The Abduction of Barney Hill‘ follows. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Here’s why:
‘Philosorapture’ maintains the intensity and pace with a buzzing guitar riff, while ‘Toxicology,‘ slows things down a little as the mood seems to darken with more of a rumbling backing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ as you imagine with it being about soldiers being called to war, is angry and totally psyched up; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is the shortest, and I believe, the first song the band wrote together. It’s pretty straight up heavy rock, and rages from start to finish.
I’ve so far omitted tracks #5 and # 9. These are the two longest on the album. The former, ‘Iron Strider,’ breaches the ten minute mark, while closer ‘Signals, Saucers, Satellites‘ is only about thirty seconds shy of that.
I did initially wonder about having such lengthy tracks on an album of this overall duration. I needn’t have worried – they are my two favourites of the nine! (‘Iron Strider‘ just shades it, actually.)
Both, to the musically untrained ear at least,follow pretty much the same structure: with slow builds moving to heavy, steady paced mid sections, before picking up pace, bigger riffs and searing guitar towards the final two / three minutes.
I know – I say this just about every week – I’m so fickle. I’m a short-arse with even shorter attention span, but if there’s a band out there right now likely to grab my focus and lock it in a strangle-hold, then it’s Psychlona.
Formed in Bradford, England seven years ago, this is a band whose career is most definitely on a steeply upward trajectory. With two full length releases under their belt, I really don’t know how I’ve failed to hit upon their music before.
Psychlona are billed as a ‘stoner’ band, but that doesn’t do them proper justice. They have so much more in their locker. For instance, ‘Blast Off’ as you can hear, leans more to a ‘space rock’ vibe, with, I think shades of krautrock peeking through.
This track is taken from the band’s second album, ‘Venus Skytrip‘ which was released on Ripple Music / Cursed Tongue Records in 2020. On the same LP, there is the growling doom riffs on ‘10,000 volts’ and album closer, ‘The Owl’; the chugging, driving, heavy rock and infectious chorus of ‘Blow,‘ and the simple out-and-out rocker that I could envisage Motorhead playing – ‘Star.‘
And then there’s this, which just about covers all bases!
What initially attracted me to the music of Psychlona was this ability to meld various sub-genres of music, not only onto one LP, but at times within individual songs. On their debut album, ‘Mojo Rising‘ from 2018, opener ‘Stone‘ is pretty doom laden, but it also rocks along big time, mid-section. The following track though, ‘Ride‘ is much faster paced and believe it or not actually reminded me of The Damned and ‘Neat Neat Neat‘ with the throbbing bass line and vocals at the start of each verse. ( I know – I live in my own wee world sometimes.)
This though is what I’m getting at – Psychlona are not simply a ‘stoner’ band. Well,, they are … but you know what I mean. Their ability to move effortlessly between space rock, stoner, heavy rock and desert rock is certainly to be admired.
Now, having recently signed with Las Vegas label Psycho Waxx, the in-house label for the famous Psycho Las Vegas festival, Psychlona are set to embark upon a U.S. tour with other scene luminaries: Church of the Cosmic Skull; Black Box Revelation and Lord Buffalo. Dates include shows in Oakland; West Hollywood; Costa Mesa; Phoenix; San Diego, and winding up at the aforementioned festival in Las Vegas.
More! They have a new album due for release on August 19th. ‘Palo Verde‘ is their third album, and though I was fortunate enough to pre-order one of the remaining four from seven hundred Limited Edition vinyl copies, I have only yet heard the excellent ‘1975‘ which plays at the top of this post.
You know that feeling as a kid on the run-up to Christmas, or your birthday? Sometimes it never leaves you. Roll on August 19th!
I didn’t realise until now just how much the psych scene of Toronto has shaped my record collection!
Some time ago, in an earlier incarnation of Loud Horizon, I received a promo copy of and album by Canadian band Quest for Fire. I loved it, and played it more for pleasure than I did for review purposes.
A few years later, I came across an album by Nordic Nomadic. Reading the album’s sleeve notes, I noted this was side project of Quest for Fire‘s guitarist, Chad Ross, and so shelled out for a vinyl copy.
Turns out Chad produces a lot of music I like, because he later, and still does, play guitar in Toronto based psych band, Comet Control, along with fellow ex-Quest for Fire member, Andrew Moszynski.
(As an aside,Comet Control‘s drummer was at some point, Jay Anderson, also of Stonegrass and Lammping fame, albums of both which are in my collection.Toronto definitely rocks!)
And it’s this seemingly eternal connection that has led to Chad Ross’s latest project.
Initially intended as another solo acoustic project, the new album ‘Skull Creator‘ morphed into something a bit more substantial when Chad was approached with offers of involvement by Joshua Wells (drummer with Vancouver band Destroyer); Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell and Aaron Goldstein renowned and revered exponent of the pedal-steel guitar.
“I had it in my head that I was gonna make an acoustic record, with the sole purpose of making fun of myself, reflecting on a few of my past wasted lives and just generally taking the singer/songwriter thing out with the trash. The lyrics all made me laugh at one point, but when Josh and Isaiah got involved, things got elevated…. as they tend to do with musicians like that.”
The resultant eight tracks of folk-psych are a spellbinding mix of the music that connects the three of Chad’s bands / projects mentioned earlier.
Remember Venn Diagrams from our schooldays? I’ll not attempt to draw one here as I failed my Maths Higher twice and would surely get it all wrong! But think of three overlapping circles, one entitled Quest for Fire, one, Nordic Nomadic and the other, Comet Control.
‘Skull Creator‘ falls into that part shared by all three circles. The biggest contributor to that area would be Nordic Nomadic, the smallest, Comet Control.
(Is that possible, or am I still crap at Maths?)
Generally speaking, it’s a fairly downtempo album, with some tracks rising and soaring in intensity. Opener ‘Buzzin in the Bush‘ has a warm, desert-rock feel about it, while ‘Takin a Dip’ is quieter, more acoustic based with a pronounced bass-line and a lovely, harmonious and catchy chorus.
Third in is ‘Wrong Side of the Sky.’ It goes like this:
The title track lines up fourth in the order. As you’d likely expect ‘Skull Creator,‘ is a bit darker that the preceding songs, but retains a haunting warmth. If my memory serves me right, it reminds me a bit of the band Sleepy Sun from some years back.
‘The Stranger‘ has a gentle refrain, backed by an unobtrusive string section. This one quietly just seeps into your subconscious. My favourite (I think – I have changed a couple of times!) is ‘On Golden Pond.‘ I can just imagine the steam rising from a swamp-like pond as the sun starts to set. It’s another track with a lovely warmth to it, Chad’s hushed vocals sounding the perfect accompaniment.
(I cannot think of a band more polar opposite to C.Ross than Oasis, but I do hear little echoes of ‘Champagne Supernova‘ in parts. Sorry if that offends anyone – it’s just an observation. And not a bad reflection by any means.)
Of the final two tracks, ‘Way Too Nice‘ is the ‘heavier’ and more psych-rock as I like it, while ‘Tracks in the Snow‘ brings the album to a bit of a downbeat climax. I’m just not sure about this being right for the ‘closer’ but hey! What do I know?
‘Skull Creator‘ definitely sits more on the ‘folk’ side of the Psych Rock fence, but within that, there’s plenty variation to explore and with musicians the pedigree of those involved, then it has to be a winner!
** ‘Skull Creator’ can be bought through Bandcamp and streamed through various streaming services.**
(Post by John Allan from Bridgetown, Western Australia – July 2022.)
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licóur Of which vertú engendred is the flour
So wrote Geoffrey Chaucer in the prologue to his seminal work The Canterbury Tales between 1387-1400.
Fast forward some 600 years and lazy music critics coined the phrase The Canterbury Scene as all music, it seems, needs to be pigeonholed and labelled. Like all misnomer’s not every act associated with the movement had any real link to Canterbury. Case in point, the band Gong were formed in Paris which as far as I’m aware is not a suburb of any Kentish town or village.
It all came about in the mid sixties with local lads The Wilde Flowers who, when wilted, germinated into Soft Machine, Gong, Caravan, Egg, Matching Mole, Robert Wyatt, Hatfield and the North and National Health.
The whole Canterbury sound was a heady mix of psychedelia, anarchy, folkloric mythology, beat poetry and puns. Soft Machine is the title of a William Burroughs novel and Matching Mole a corruption of machine molle, the french translation of Soft Machine. Perhaps a bit of a dig from sacked drummer Robert Wyatt. For Girls that Go Plump In The Night and Cunning Stunts were albums from Caravan. All terribly quirky and quintessentially English.
In among this bunch of posies was a young London born guitarist, Steve Hillage. While still at school, Hillage was in a band called Uriel with his keyboard playing chum Dave Stewart, not to be confused with the Eurythmics chappy. They were encouraged to change their name as it sounded too close to urine (or was someone taking the piss !) and so became Egg.
Hillage attended the University of Kent in Canterbury (there’s the link !) and jammed with local bands Caravan and Spirogyra, not to be confused with the smooth jazz outfit Spyro Gyra. He landed himself a record deal with Deram and set about putting a band, Khan, together. After a few incarnations, the line up for their only release Space Shanty were Hillage on guitars and vocals, former TheCrazy World of Arthur Brown bassist and vocalist Nick Greenwood, fellow Egg alumni Stewart and drummer Eric Peachey.
This 1972 release, in my humble opinion, is a progressive rocker’s wet dream. Long convoluted tracks with nonsensical lyrics, great guitar solos swaying from hard rock to jazz, luscious fuzzed organ and odd time signatures. The musicianship by all four players is commendable. Sadly there was to be no follow up.
Hillage moved on to Gong (in some French speaking corner of Kent no doubt) before becoming a solo artist.
Stewart formed Hatfield and the North then National Health. Along with former Zombie, Colin Blunstone he had a minor hit with What Became Of The Broken Hearted and It’s My Party with Barbara Gaskin.
Chaucer didn’t include a guitarist’s tale in his magnum opus. Nor a lute player or any other kind of musician either. In different times I’m sure he would have had a few kind words to say about Mr Hillage and his Khan clan.
Steve Hillage – Guitar / Vocals Nick Greenwood – Bass / Vocals Dave Stewart – Organ Eric Peachey – Drums
During the early years of Loud Horizon, while I was also writing for Artrocker Magazine, I was lucky enough to go to a couple of gigs a week. Normally I’d be seeking bands to write about – bands playing ‘downstairs’ in the bars and art spaces in Glasgow.
There were a host of smaller venues favoured by a committed group of local promoters who, contrary to the perceptions of some, were truly in the business for the music. I would know whose shows would be worth heading out for, because of the reputation they had for booking exciting and raucous bands.
Bands like southside Glasgow’s, The Kidney Flowers would have been exactly what I was looking for.
Though they’ve been recording since 2016, and presumably playing way before then, I’m surprised I never saw them ‘live.’ I sure wish I had.
The three-piece (Grant – vocals; Abigail – drums; Grant aka TOG ‘the other Grant’ – bass) make one heck of a racket! Straight-up, in yer face, garage punk of the highest order. Their music is fast and frantic – riff heavy with thumping beats and pounding bass lines. Grant’s shouty / spoken vocal delivery is a perfect fit and reminds me a bit of Cuddly Shark who also based themselves in this parish around the mid-noughties. And a mighty fine band the were too.
The Kidney Flowers have just returned from a short (their first) UK tour. They covered venues around London, Guildford, Eastbourne, Bath and Manchester where they had enthusiastic and glowing reaction from the punters who rocked out with them.
They have also just released a ‘live’ six-track EP of this performance, recorded at Glasgow’s Bloc+ which can be purchased through their Bandcamp page – money well spent if you ask me. Check it out / buy it here.
Music: Punk, Rock, Psych, 60s Garage, Blues, Reggae & Ska..