Natural Four – Natural Four (1974)

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The Natural Four was an American R&B group from Oakland, California.

Formed in 1967, the Natural Four approached Fred Ivey about becoming their manager. Ivey owned a local record store called Tape Town and eventually made a deal with a local Oakland label, Boola Boola Records. Their first release, “I Thought You Were Mine” sold 30,000 copies locally, after being regularly played on San Francisco soul/R&B radio station KSOL and on Oakland’s KDIA where it rose to #7 on the chart.

ABC Records saw the group’s potential and picked them up. Their second release on Boola Boola, “Why Should We Stop Now” was re-released and, ABC then released “The Same Thing in Mind”, a remake of their first hit “I Thought You Were Mine”, and a cover of The Temptations‘ “Message From a Black Man”, but none repeated the success of their initial recording.

Chess Records released the single, “Give a Little Love” in 1971 without success and, following this, Chris James replaced the rest of the band. The new group, with Delmos Whitley generally taking lead, signed with Curtis Mayfield‘s label, Curtom Records, in 1972 and proceeded to release a string of US R&B hits, including one Top 40 breakthrough, 1973’s “Can This Be Real”. Their three Curtom LPs were mainly produced by Leroy Hutson, formerly of The Impressions, but after their third album failed to chart, the group called it quits.

The Natural Four is their second album, released in 1974 on Curtom Records.

The Natural Four‘s self-titled debut release on Curtom should have introduced the group’s distinguishable sound to a vast R&B audience. The album features the vintage soul number “Can This Be Real,” and the socially conscious “This Is What’s Happening Now” and “Love That Really Counts.” The latter is almost identical to “Can This Be Real,” save the lyrical content. The entire LP is consistent with the sound of its day. For whatever reasons, the acclaim due to this quartet was undelivered.

The serenely composed “Can This Be Real” did peak at number ten on the Billboard R&B charts after 18 active weeks, and remains a mainstay on quiet storm radio. If not for the scarce availability of this LP, a host of songs from this collection would receive airplay; “Can This Be Real” is only available through several compilation albums.



1.  Can This Be Real – 3:28
2.  You Bring Out the Best in Me – 4:37
3.  Try Love Again – 4:28
4.  You Can’t Keep Running Away – 3:28
5.  This Is What’s Happening Now – 4:08
6.  Love That Really Counts – 4:20
7.  Try to Smile – 2:58
8.  Love’s Society – 3:20
9.  Things Will Be Better Tomorrow – 3:30


Companies, etc.




Recorded: 1974  at Curtom Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
GenreSoul, Funk
Length: 34:06

Label – Curtom Records

Mick Fleetwood – The Visitor (1981)

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The Visitor is an album by Mick Fleetwood, released by RCA Records in 1981. All the songs were recorded in Accra, Ghana between January and February 1981 at the “Ghana Film Industries, Inc. Studio” and produced by Richard Dashut, and were later mixed in various studios in England.

Two of the tracks were covers of Fleetwood Mac songs: “Rattlesnake Shake” was originally recorded for the 1969 album Then Play On, and “Walk a Thin Line” first appeared on the 1979 album Tusk. Peter Green sang lead vocals and played lead guitar on “Rattlesnake Shake”, and was credited as Peter Greenbaum. George Harrison appeared on “Walk a Thin Line”.

Recorded in Ghana in 1981, Mick Fleetwood’s solo debut reveals more diversity and depth of feeling than any of Fleetwood Mac’s multi-platinum monsters. Six of the tracks are not overt attempts at worldbeat, instead using a variety of West African musicians as sidemen, sidewomen, and, in the case of drum ensemble Ebaali Gbiko, sidechildren.

Of these six tracks, several stand out. “Walk a Thin Line,” written by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, is an infectious pop song blending Adjo Group’s enchanting backing vocals with guest George Harrison’s lush 12-string and slide guitars. Another Fleetwood Mac veteran, Peter Greenbaum (aka Peter Green), accompanies a multinational percussion section for a remake of his “Rattlesnake Shake,” originally found on Then Play On. Even the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away” gets supercharged with a percussion ensemble made up of Fleetwood on drums and Lord Tiki and Adjo Group on hand drums and percussion.

The West African tracks that make up the remainder of the album are pure pleasure. “Super Brains” is a funk instrumental with a groove James Brown would be proud of; “The Visitor” features a synthesizer soaring above and growling beneath the Ghana Folkloric Group’s vocals and polyrhythmic percussion; and “Amelle” is a lovely finale that again showcases Adjo Group’s vocals.

An underrated gem, The Visitor rewards repeated listening and deserves a wider audience.



1. “Rattlesnake Shake” (Peter Green) – 3:49
2. “You Weren’t in Love” (Bill Field) – 3:55
3. “O’ Niamali” (Nii Amartey) – 2:47
4. “Super Brains” (A. B. Crentsil) – 4:07
5. “Don’t Be Sorry, Just Be Happy” (Todd Sharp) – 4:24
6. “Walk a Thin Line” (Lindsey Buckingham) – 3:19
7. “Not Fade Away” (Charles Hardin, Norman Petty) – 2:22
8. “Cassiopeia Surrender” (George Hawkins) – 4:34
9. “The Visitor” (C. K. Ganjo) – 4:05
10. “Amelle (Come on Show Me Your Heart)” (Nii Amartey) – 4:35




Guest Musicians



  • Executive producer – Mickey Shapiro
  • Produced by Mick Fleetwood and Richard Dashut
  • Engineered by Bill Doudelman, Randy Ezratty, and Richard Dashut


Released: June 1981
Recorded: Ghana, Africa – January–February 1981
Genre: Rock
Length: 38:35

Label – RCA Records

Tyka Nelson – Royal Blue (1988)

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Tyka Evene Nelson (born May 18, 1960) is an American singer. She is the daughter of jazz musician John L. Nelson (1916–2001) and Mattie Della Shaw (1933–2002), and the sister of Prince (1958–2016). In addition, she has seven half-siblings.

Poor Tyka Nelson has not had an easy road. While her superstar older brother Prince is considered one of the most important and influential artists of all time, Tyka is still pretty much unknown, despite having such a famous sibling. And her attempt at being a renowned artist in her own right fell flat, leading to very turbulent personal times.

Tyka was born in 1960, and was Prince’s only full sibling. Though their childhood wasn’t the easiest, they had music to lift their spirits as both of their parents were musicians, which rubbed off on their kids. Of course Prince was the first out of the gate, and after a few moderately successful albums, he found international success with the 1999 album and then, of course, Purple Rain. According to Tyka, Prince offered her use of his Paisley Park studios and money to fund an album, but she wanted to get a contract on her own. It took her quite a few years, after going to college and having two kids, but she finally signed a deal with Chrysalis/Cooltempo Records (which, though the label denied it, likely happened because she was Prince’s sister) and released her debut in 1988.

The first single, the longing ballad “Marc Anthony’s Tune”, was a minor urban hit on Billboard. It was dedicated to her imaginary lover Marc Anthony. There was a lot of talk regarding her sanity when she did interviews for the album, as she wore a second watch that was on “Marc Anthony’s time” and carried around a stuffed dinosaur named Jazz on a leash for interviews.

There was also a lot of criticism, as she was inevitably compared to Prince and considered a much weaker singer and talent (I personally love her light, dreamy voice), and though the album was funky, sweet and produced in part by Prince collaborator David Z, it wasn’t deemed ‘Prince’ enough for fans.

She was also unfairly criticized for her appearance, as she was overweight and definitely not the beauty people associated with Prince thanks to his protegees like Vanity and Sheila E.. This, combined with her admitted shyness, resistance to interviews and lack of videos, gave her a very low profile. Her second single, the upbeat “L.O.V.E.”, went mostly unnoticed and the label dropped her soon after.

1.  No Promises 4:08 
2.  L.O.V.E. – 5:18 
3.  Paris – 3:53 
4.  Be Good To Me – 5:05 
5.  Marc Anthony’s Tune – 4:40 
6.  Royal Blue – 4:12 
7.  Try My Passion – 4:22 
8.  My Friend – 4:31 
9.  This Girl’s Gonna Fall In Love – 4:04 


Companies, etc.




Released: 1988 
Genre: Soul, Funk 
Style: Synth-pop, Disco
Length: 40:43

Label – Cooltempo Records

Munich Machine – A Whiter Shade Of Pale (1978)

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Giorgio Moroder was certainly one of the premier innovators of the disco genre, a man who was idolized and imitated in equal portions, and who instructed up-and-comers in the ways of hitmaking. He’s a man who made superstars out of stars (think Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby”) and stars out of nobodies.

Usually. With his fingers busy in so many pies, it was hard to keep track of Moroder’s doings. But as often as he would shine, there were times when even his gold didn’t quite glitter. And Munich Machine, a Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte synthfest, sadly is one of those stumbling blocks. Even the title track, a Euro-trashed and disco-fied take on Procol Harum’s prog staple “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” couldn’t raise the standard of this set. It’s packed with Moroder’s trademarked synthetic trance staples and even the crossover strains of “I Feel Love” have been woven throughout. But they didn’t help.

For Munich Machine’s second Casablanca album, Giorgio Moroder hired American vocalist Chris Bennett to provide vocals for his and Bellotte’s productions. She also posed naked on the cover, even posing on the back cover with the two dancing robots from the first album. Once again the single releases did not impact the UK singles chart but like its predecessor the album was very popular in the Disco clubs. The album did well in the Underground of Disco.

A Whiter Shade of Pale marked Bennett’s first album-length appearance on record, fronting such cuts as the Procol Harum cover, “It’s For You,” “It’s All Wrong (But It’s Alright),” and “Love Fever.” Shortly after this release, Moroder would enlist Bennett to write lyrics for the theme to the Oscar-winning Midnight Express.

Munich Machine continues in much the same vein for the rest of the album. From “La Nuit Blanche” to “It’s All for You,” which sounds infuriatingly like some other title-on-the-tip-of-your-tongue song altogether, A Whiter Shade of Pale is exactly what its title implies. It sounds like Moroder, it looks like Moroder, but if his name weren’t on the cover, one would be tempted to cry out “tired imposter,” proving that even icons are allowed gray days sometimes.


A1.  A Whiter Shade Of Pale – 6:20 
A2.  It’s For You – 5:13 
A3.  It’s All Wrong (But It’s Alright) – 4:12 

B1.  La Nuit Blanche – 5:25 
B2.  Love Fever – 4:36 
B3 . In Love With Love – 6:31


Companies, etc.


Released:  24 May 1978
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Electronic
Style: Disco
Length: 31:47

Label – Casablanca Records

Shirley Murdock – A Woman´s Point Of View (1988)

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Shirley Murdock (born May 22, 1957) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, who is best known for her 1986 R&B hit single “As We Lay” and for her vocals on Zapp and Roger hit single “Computer Love“.

Murdock started out singing gospel music in her native Toledo. Singer/musician Roger Troutman hired Murdock as a backing singer for his family’s band Zapp, which had several hits on Warner Bros. (and its Reprise Records imprint). Based on this success, Troutman began recording tracks with Murdock and lead singer Sugarfoot of the Ohio Players, among others, at his Dayton-based recording studio, Troutman Sound Labs.

Murdock and Troutman’s first chart single was a Warner Bros. single issued as Roger (featuring Shirley Murdock), “Girl, Cut It Out”, which charted at number 79 R&B in early 1985.

A Woman’s Point of View is the second studio album by the American soul singer Shirley Murdock. The album was released on May 31, 1988 and included the charting single “Husband”.


1.  Husband  – 5:00 
2.  (Everybody Wants) Somethin’ For Nothin’ – 4:27 
3.  Found My Way – 5:54 
4.  If I Know – 4:57 
5.  Woman’s Point Of View – 4:02 
6.  Oh What A Feeling – 5:18 
7.  I Still Love You – 5:10 
8.  Spend My Whole Life (Vocals [Duet] – Dale DeGroat) – 5:44 
9.  Modern Girl – 3:44 
10.  And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going – 4:28 
11.  Instrument Of Praise – 5:40 


Companies, etc.


Released: May 31, 1988
Genre: Soul, Quiet Storm
Length: 54:24

Label – Elektra Records

The Juliana Hatfield Three – Become What You Are (1993)

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Juliana Hatfield (born July 27, 1967) is an American musician and singer-songwriter from the Boston area, formerly of the indie rock bands Blake Babies, The Juliana Hatfield Three, Some Girls, and The Lemonheads.

Hatfield acquired a love of rock music during the 1970s, having been introduced by a babysitter to the music of the Los Angeles punk rock band X, which proved a life-changing experience. She was also attracted to the music of more mainstream artists like Olivia Newton-John and The Police.

Hatfield began her solo career following the Blake Babies‘ breakup in 1991, releasing her first solo album (Hey Babe) in 1992. The album was one of the highest selling independent albums of 1992. Hatfield recruited a rhythm section consisting of former Moving Targets and Bullet LaVolta drummer Todd Phillips, and Thudpucker bassist Dean Fisher, and thus becoming The Juliana Hatfield Three.

Hatfield achieved alterna-rock stardom with the release of 1993’s Become What You Are (recorded under the group name The Juliana Hatfield Three). Several songs from the album received regular airplay on major North American rock stations, with Hatfield’s song “My Sister” becoming the biggest hit of her career, with a #1 placing on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and the video becoming an MTV staple..

“My Sister” was based on a real person: Hatfield’s older brother’s girlfriend, Meg Rafferty, who lived with the family while Hatfield was in high school. She enjoyed Rafferty’s eclectic record collection. Rafferty also took Hatfield to see the Del Fuegos and the Violent Femmes, which inspired her to form a band.

“Spin the Bottle” was used in the soundtrack of the Hollywood film Reality Bites (1994). Hatfield also made the cover of Spin magazine..

Hatfield was profiled in a number of girls’ magazines at this time and addressed serious issues faced by young women in her songs and interviews. About this period she says: “I was never comfortable with the attention. I thought it had come too soon. I hadn’t earned it yet.” She gained notoriety in 1992 for saying that she was still a virgin in her mid-twenties in Interview magazine. In a 1994 interview for the magazine Vox, she said she was surprised by the effect ‘outing’ herself had: “I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t care about sex, but who you never hear from, so I thought I should say it. The magazine I did the interview for is full of beef-cake hunky guys and scantily-clad models, so I thought it would be really funny to say that I didn’t care about sex in a magazine that’s full of sex and beauty – but no one really got the joke.”



1.  “Supermodel” – 2:52
2.  “My Sister” – 3:22
3.  “This Is the Sound” – 3:01
4.  “For the Birds” – 4:14
5.  “Mabel” – 4:09
6.  “A Dame with a Rod” – 2:55
7.  “Addicted” – 3:16
8.  “Feelin’ Massachusetts” – 4:11
9.  “Spin the Bottle” – 2:23
10.  “President Garfield” – 4:38
11.  “Little Pieces” – 3:05
12.  “I Got No Idols” (Hatfield, Dean Fisher, Todd Philips) – 2:16

The Juliana Hatfield Three


Additional musicians


Technical personnel

Released: August 3, 1993
Recorded at: Studio Hollywood Sound in Los Angeles
Genre: Alternative rock
Length: 40:22

Label – Mammoth Records

MoKenStef – Azz Izz (1995)

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MoKenStef was an American female R&B trio from Los Angeles, California, active from 1994 until 2000. The group name was a combination of the first syllable of each member’s name: Monifa, Kenya, and Stefanie. They released an album, Azz Izz, in 1995, and their biggest hit was “He’s Mine“, which peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also spent one week in the UK Singles Chart in September 1995 at #70. Their second single, “Sex in the Rain”, was not as successful, peaking only at #63 on the US R&B chart.

The last single was intended to be “Baby Come Close”, remake of Smokey Robinson‘s song, for which MoKenStef recorded a remix called “I Can’t Help It” (this one was a cover of Michael Jackson‘s song). Both, album and remix versions were released promotionally on cd and vinyl, the group also made a video for it directed by Cameron Casey, but in the end the intended single was never released commercially.

Azz Izz (released July 4, 1995) was the only album from R&B group, MoKenStef. Their biggest hit was “He’s Mine”, which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their second single, “Sex in the Rain,” generated much less success, reaching number 63 on the R&B chart.

On their debut album Azz Izz, Mokenstef follow in the footsteps of TLC, turning in a poor man’s version of CrazySexyCool. That doesn’t mean the record is without its pleasure — the trio are good vocalists and given the right material, like the hit single “He’s Mine,” they can come close to the funky sensuality of TLC. However, Mokenstef simply doesn’t have the charisma or personality of TLC, which means they can’t make mediocre material convincing. And unfortunately, too much of Azz Izz is comprised of mediocre material.



1.  “Sex In the Rain” – 4:50
2.  “Just Be Gentle” – 4:08
3.  “Azz Izz” – 3:40
4.  “He’s Mine” – 4:13
5.  “Don’t Go There” – 3:14
6.  “Baby Come Close” – 3:56
7.  “Stop Callin’ Me” – 1:04
8.  “It Happens” – 3:52
9.  “Laid Back” – 3:38
10.  “Let Them Know” – 3:36
11.  “It Goes On” – 4:34


Companies, etc.


Released: July 4, 1995
Recorded: July 1994—1995
Genre: R&B, quiet storm
Length: 40:45

Label – Outburst Records

Mr. Bungle – California (1999)

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Mr. Bungle was an American experimental rock band from Northern California. Known for a highly eclectic style, the band often cycled through several musical genres within the course of a single song, including heavy metal, avant-garde jazz, ska and disco. Many Mr. Bungle songs had an unconventional structure and utilized a wide array of instruments and samples. Live shows often featured members dressing up (even hiding their identities with masks earlier in the band’s career) and an array of cover songs.

The band was founded in Eureka, California during 1985 while the members were still in high school, and was named after a 1950s children’s educational film, later featured in a 1981 Pee-wee Herman HBO special. Mr. Bungle released four demo tapes in the mid-to-late 1980s before signing to Warner Bros. Records and releasing three full-length studio albums between 1991 and 1999. The band toured in 1999 and 2000 to support their last album before going on hiatus; ultimately revealing that they had dissolved in 2004.

Although Mr. Bungle went through several line-up changes early in their career, the longest-serving members were vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, bassist Trevor Dunn, saxophonists Clinton “Bär” McKinnon and Theo Lengyel, and drummer Danny Heifetz. Members were based in San Francisco during the band’s tenure with Warner Bros.

California was their third and final studio album by American experimental rock band Mr. Bungle. It was released on June 13, 1999, through Warner Bros.

Four years after Disco Volante, Mr. Bungle returns with California, which immediately distinguishes itself from its predecessors — it’s probably their most heavily orchestrated record to date and their most melodic overall, as well as the least dependent on rock styles. That’s certainly not to imply that this is a tame or immediately accessible record, nor that Mr. Bungle has suddenly gone sane.

There is a stronger lounge-music orientation to the group’s trademark rapid-fire genre-hopping; we hear more pop, swing, rockabilly, country & western, bossa nova, Hawaiian and Middle Eastern music, jazz, Zappa-esque doo wop, arty funk, post-rock, space-age pop, spaghetti-Western music, warped circus melodies, and even dramatic pseudo-new age, plus just a smidgen of heavy metal.

Sure, some of those sounds have appeared on Mr. Bungle records past, but the difference this time is the focus with which the band deploys its arsenal. California is their most concise album to date, clocking in at around 45 minutes; plus, while the song structures are far from traditional, they’re edging more in that direction and that greatly helps the listener in making sense of the often random-sounding juxtapositions of musical genres (assuming, of course, that you’re supposed to even try to make sense of them).

As with any Mr. Bungle album, California requires at least a few listens to pull together, but its particular brand of schizophrenia isn’t nearly as impenetrable as that of Disco Volante, even if it will still make you marvel at the fact that such a defiantly odd, uncommercial band recorded for Warner Bros.



1.  Sweet Charity – 5:06
2.  None Of Them Knew They Were Robots – 6:04
3.  Retrovertigo – 4:58
4.  The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 3:54
5.  Ars Moriendi – 4:09
6.  Pink Cigarette – 4:56
7.  Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy – 3:34
8.  The Holy Filament – 4:04
9.  Vanity Fair – 2:58
10.  Goodbye Sober Day – 4:29


Companies, etc.


Released: June 13, 1999
Recorded: 1998, various studios across San Francisco
Mixed at Coast Recorders, Different Fur & Sound Castle, Los Angeles.
Genre: Experimental rock, Art rock, Progressive pop
Length: 44:16

Label – Warner Bros. Records

René Moore ‎- Destination Love (1988)

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René Moore (born Jimmy Rene Moore May 19, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter and producer, and is more memorable musically for hits he produced with his soul co-singer Angela Winbush as part of René & Angela, including “I’ll Be Good,” “Save Your Love (For #1),” “Your Smile,” and “You Don’t Have to Cry.”

Rene Moore was once part of a profitable hit duo with fellow performer, songwriter, and producer Angela Winbush. They enjoyed some success in the ’80s, then had an ugly, public falling out, which was widely reported in the media, complete with stories about abuse and accusations of compositional theft.

Things got so ugly that they wound up in court, and Moore came out the loser. He signed a solo deal with Mercury, and this late ’80s album was the result. Moore wrote and produced the material, and unfortunately turned in a faceless, generic bomb.

After falling out with Angela and the publicity of a court case, Rene signed as a solo artist to Mercury Records where his debut album was the self-written / produced ‘Destination Love’ (1988).



1. All Or Nothing – 5:28
2. Good Love – 5:07
3. You’re The One For Me – 4:39
4. Never Say Goodbye To Love – 5:35
5. Your Love Is Like No Other (Soloist, Saxophone – Jeffrey Smith) – 4:21
6. I Count The Hours – 4:25
7. Let Us Love Tonight (Soloist, Saxophone – Gerald Albright) – 5:56
8. Celebrate – 4:56

Companies, etc.


Released: 1988
Recorded at: Greene Street (New York) Hit Factory (New York), Image Recorders, Larrabee Sound, R&R Studio, 7th Street Sound, Sunset Sound
Genre: Funk / Soul
Length: 48:03

Label – Polydor Records

Sophie´s Dream – Sophie´s Dream (1976)

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Sophie´s Dream are a Swiss pop and prog band of the 1970s.

Unexpected hard-to-find find from the area of ​​the major label’s crook. Judging by the first side – just a hitman! Acid zefuzovannost with otvaznym squeamish sake, nervous female vocals inviting JOY UNLIMITED, followed by pathetic keys, suddenly turning into funk, then to explode again with the vicious “curvature”. Nocturne from the first side – the classic of the genre. I was looking forward to development, but alas. Closer to the end, the musicians are slowing down: the inventory from track to track is getting smaller, and traditional moves and rolls to pop and funky rock’n’roll pop music increasingly more.

This record is an ingenious, fantastic work of progressive music, going through different styles, from classical and balladesque to progressive, psychedelic, from filigran to laid-back to ecstatic lead guitar solos.

This record is an ingenious, fantastic work of progressive music, going through different styles, from classical and balladesque to progressive, psychedelic, from filigran to laid-back to ecstatic lead guitar solos. In my book a masterpiece of rock by this Swiss band. An absolute must for any serious rock collector….



01.  Witch’s Ride – 2:44
02.  Where The Four Wind Blows – 1:06
03.  Witch’s Love Song (Part 1 & Part 2) – 4:52
04.  Nocturne – 4:59
05.  Witch’s Love Song – 1:18
06.  Instant Divorce – 4:13
07.  Slow Motion – 3:35
08.  How Are You Jane – 3:57
09.  Night In The City – 3:32
10.  Mama Song – 2:27
11.  The Show Must Go On – 4:28
12.  Watch The World – 2:58


Companies, etc.




Released: 1976
Genres: Psychedelic Rock, Jazz-Rock 
Length: 40:15

Label – EMI Electrola