Mike Rutherford – Smallcreep´s Day (1980)

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Michael John Cloete Crawford Rutherford[1] (born 2 October 1950) is an English songwriter and musician. He is a founding member of Genesis and one of the band’s only two continuous members.

Smallcreep’s Day is the first studio album by English guitarist and songwriter Mike Rutherford, released in February 1980 on Charisma Records. It was recorded in 1979 during a period of inactivity from his rock band Genesis, during which Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks recorded their first solo albums. The 24-minute title track is based on the 1965 novel Smallcreep’s Day by Peter Currell Brown which tells the story of Mr. Smallcreep and the journey of self-discovery he takes through the assembly line of the factory he has worked in for forty years.

Smallcreep’s Day opens with the 24-minute title track that has seven distinct sections. It is based on the 1965 novel Smallcreep’s Day, the only book written by Peter Currell Brown. A satire on modern industrial life, the story follows Pinquean Smallcreep who has worked in the same factory for forty years and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he follows its assembly line to find out what the factory produces. Brown had in fact worked in a factory for forty years himself. Rutherford had read the book roughly three years prior to starting work on the album, noting it had similarities to the Gormenghast series of fantasy novels by Mervyn Peake. Though he considered it “hardly a great piece of literature”, he was more impressed with its spirit and the atmosphere it presented as a reader. He also chose the book as its story and setting was something he could work and develop from and adapted it to have a happy ending. He later noted a strong contrast in themes between the factory and machine-oriented imagery on his album and the more romantic and fantasy-inspired Genesis songs typical of the time. Rutherford had attempted to pass lines from the book as lyrics, but abandoned the idea as they failed to work effectively.

One other track recorded during the sessions for the album, “Compression”, was released as the B-side to the single release of “Working in Line”.

 

Side one
1. “Smallcreep’s Day” – 24:41
(a) “Between the Tick & the Tock”
(b) “Working in Line”
(c) “After Hours”
(d) “Cats and Rats (In This Neighbourhood)”
(e) “Smallcreep Alone”
(f) “Out Into the Daylight”
(g) “At the End of the Day”

Side two
1. “Moonshine” – 6:26
2. “Time and Time Again” – 4:54
3. “Romani” – 5:27
4. “Every Road” – 4:15
5. “Overnight Job” – 5:44

All tracks written by Mike Rutherford.

Musicians
Ant Phillips – keyboards
Noel McCalla – vocals
Simon Phillips – drums
Morris Pert – percussion
Mike Rutherford – guitars, basses

Production
David Hentschel – production, engineering
David Bascombe – production and engineering assistant
Andy Mackrill – equipment
Dale Newman – equipment
Geoff Banks – equipment
Hipgnosis – cover design and photography
Tony Smith – management at Hit & Run

Notes
Released: 15 February 1980
Recorded: 1979 Studio Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Genre: Progressive rock
Length: 51:28

Label – Charisma Records

Leon Russell & New Grass Revival – The Live Album (1981)

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Leon Russell & New Grass Revival’s THE LIVE ALBUM (Paradise, PAX-3532) was recorded and videotaped on 5/15/80 at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, CA. Leon on keyboard and lead vocals is supported by Sam Bush (mandolin, fiddle, backing vocals), Courtney Johnson (banjo, backing vocals), John Cowan (bass, backing vocals), and Curtis Burch (guitar, dobro, backing vocals). Also appearing: Bill Kenner (mandolin) and Ambrose Campbell (percussion).

The concert often resembles a tent revival meeting, yet there’s much variety here. Leon’s take on “Over the Rainbow” is quite compelling. The Russell original, “Pilgrim Land” is a particular highlight. “Caribbean” was a c&w charter for Mitchell Torok three times between 1953 and ’59. The fervent “Prince of Peace” and “…Sweet Baby’s Arms” are quick tempoed. “…Strange Land” maintains that high energy; then it kicks into overdrive. Leon strips his vocal cords at its conclusion and during “…At the Meeting.”

Leon Russell is well versed in bluegrass and all things hillbilly rock and roll. He recorded this collaboration back in 1980. This amazing and versatile performer simply finds a way to assimilate with any and all surroundings and be able to come out of it with something new and fresh, yet still represent Leon at his best. When I saw him in concert with Willie Nelson back in 1978 he fit in perfectly with whatever Willie wanted and whatever kind of backing the song required. His love for traditional music and a gospel kind of sound is well documented. New Grass Revival are one of the more progressive bluegrass bands, and feature excellent musicianship. Sam Bush especially stands out on mandolin.

Side one opens with a little crooning from Leon but picks up steam a bit when he covers Ray Charles’ classic I Believe To My Soul. A jumped up version of Prince Of Peace finishes off side one with a fury. New Grass Revival had covered that song a few years ago and Leon happened to catch their act and obviously there was some mutual love for that dawg there.

Side two begins with Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, sparked up nicely with the “strings” arrangement. I Want To Be At The Meeting is a gospel-tinged rave up, the kind that Russell does so well. Wild Horses gets a different kind of arrangement than what Old And In The Way had given it a few years before. Both shared some similarities as well. Sprinkle in a little Jambalaya and finish with some Jumpin’ Jack Flash and its certainly all right with me.

The cover appears to be a poor photo, captured off a video screen of Leon in front of a whole bank of bad video screens, repeated forming a kind of nauseating pattern. The orange font used on the artists name and while new and live stand out, New Grass Revival is somewhat hidden in green. Not much about this cover that I like, even the picture of Leon seems to be taken while he’s in the middle of a conversation and doesn’t really want to be bothered. Or better yet I’d like to think that he’s testifying, rather than making some weirdo’s salute

 

Tracklist

A1.  Over the Rainbow  (3:31)
A2.  I’ve Just Seen a Face  (1:35)
A3.  One More Love Song  (3:48)
A4.  Pilgrim Land  (2:21)
A5.  Georgia Blues  (2:11)
A6.  I Believe to My Soul  (3:24)
A7.  Prince of Peace  (3:07)

B1.  Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms  (2:14)
B2.  Stranger in a Strange Land  (3:09)
B3.  I Want to Be at the Meeting  (3:03)
B4.  Wild Horses  (4:30)
B5.  Jambalaya (On the Bayou)  (1:49)
B6.  Caribbean  (2:21)
B7.  Jumpin’ Jack Flash  (2:34)

Credits

Backing Vocals – Courtney Johnson, Curtis Burch, John Cowan, Sam Bush
Banjo – Courtney Johnson
Bass – John Cowan
Design – Bill Tom, Rod Dyer, Inc.
Directed By – Pancho Makzoumé
Engineer [Assistant] – Noland O’Boyle
Engineer, Mixed By – Steve Ripley
Fiddle – Sam Bush
Guitar, Dobro – Curtis Burch
Mandolin – Bill Kenner, Sam Bush
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Percussion – Ambrose Campbell*
Photography By – Ron Slenzak, Tom Kemp
Producer – Leon Russell
Written-By – Mick Jagger/Keith Richards (tracks: B4, B7), Leon Russell (tracks: A3 to A5, A7 to B3)

Notes
Released: 1981
Recorded: live at Perkins Palace, Pasadena, CA. May 15, 1980 by Paradise Records and Paradise Video.
Genres: Progressive Bluegrass, Country Rock
Length: 39:37

Label – Paradise Records

Rusted Root – Welcome To My Party (2002)

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Welcome to My Party is Rusted Root’s fifth studio album. It marked a departure from the tribal grooves of the group’s previous work to a poppier sound. Both “Welcome to My Party” and “Blue Diamonds” were released as singles.

Rusted Root is an American band formed in 1990 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by singer-guitarist Michael Glabicki, bassist Patrick Norman and percussionist Liz Berlin. The band got its start as the house band playing a weekly gig in Jack’s Back Room on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

Welcome to My Party is an apt invitation to the stirring, often festive songs that populate Rusted Root’s fourth record. From the funky, joyful “Union 7,” where the vocals of band founders Mike Glabicki and Liz Berlin intertwine and shine, to the lovely instrumentation of the title track to the reggae strains of “Women Got My Money,” Rusted Root augment an already expansive musical palette. The multi-instrumentalist sextet fuse elements of Latin, African, Eastern, soul, rock, and traditional American music into an uplifting, intelligent, melodious whole. Discrete yet cohesive, the wonderful percussion and Middle Eastern vibe of “Artificial Winter,” the bluesy Band-like ballad “Sweet Mary,” and John Buynak’s enchanting pennywhistle melodies on songs like “Too Much” make for an enjoyable journey. Although they’ve toured with the Grateful Dead and Santana and support environmental and social causes, Rusted Root are not a retro jam band or overly New Age-y. Rather, their timeless, well-crafted, and multidimensional tunes provide enriching ear candy for a stressed soul.

On their fifth album, Welcome to My Party, Rusted Root decides to delve into full-fledged funkiness, tempering these elastic party grooves with their neo-hippie, acoustic earnestness. Both sides are polished rather heavily by producer Bill Bottrell, resulting in a record that feels like it positions the group to share territory with the Dave Matthews Band. Since they’ve been leaning in this direction for a while, this isn’t an awkward move, but it’s still a little jarring, especially when heavy guitars are married with chants on “Women Got My Money.” Rusted Root remains as versatile as ever as musicians, and there are moments where the production and their sound gel, but overall, it’s may be a little bit too much for longtime fans.

 

Tracklist

1. “Union 7” (Glabicki, Jenn Wertz) – 4:39
2. “Welcome to My Party” – 3:49
3. “Women Got My Money” – 4:38
4. “Blue Diamonds” – 4:56
5. “Weave” (Wertz) – 3:59
6. “Artificial Winter” – 4:17
7. “Too Much” (Liz Berlin) – 4:24
8. “Sweet Mary” – 3:43
9. “Hands are Law” – 4:18
10. “Cry” (Patrick Norman, Glabicki) – 2:52
11. “People of My Village” (Jim Donovan, Glabicki) – 5:39

All songs written by Michael Glabicki except where noted.

Personnel

Michael Glabicki – vocals, guitar
Jenn Wertz – vocals
Patrick Norman – bass,vocals
Liz Berlin – vocals
Jim Donovan – drums, percussion
John Buynak – guitar
John McDowell – keyboards
Bill Bottrell – producer, Engineer, mixer
Roxanne Webber – assistant engineer
Calvin Turnbull – assistant engineer

Notes
Released:  April 9, 2002
Genre:  Rock
Length:  47:14

Label – Island Records

Lee Ritenour – Rio (1979)

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Rio is an album by jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour recorded in New York City, Santa Barbara, and Rio de Janeiro. It was released in 1982 in the U.S. on Elektra/Musician Records, then on GRP in 1985 with a different album cover and track sequence.

Recorded by JVC for the Japanese market, first released in the U.S. by Elektra, and now on GRP, Ritenour’s first all-acoustic guitar album was recorded in three far-flung cities with three different bands (how’s that for musical chairs in packs of three?). The New York tracks, which feature Dave Grusin (keyboards) and Marcus Miller on popping bass, have a nice genteel funky flavor not unlike Larry Carlton’s acoustic albums in the next decade. The Rio tracks, with a Brazilian rhythm section and Don Grusin’s keyboards, differ only marginally in feeling, mostly in the use of percussion. Out in Santa Barbara, CA, “Ipanema Sol” sounds even more Brazilian than the Rio tracks, as colored by the flute of Ernie Watts and the percussion battery of Alex Acuna and Steve Forman, while Joe Sample’s “It Happens Everyday” closes the set on a lyrical note. For all of its continent-trotting ways, the record is remarkably unified — thanks in no small part to Ritenour’s intelligent, beautifully felt playing — and makes comfortable listening.

 

Tracklist

1. “Rio Funk” – 5:10
2. “San Juan Sunset” – 5:37
3. “Rainbow” – 5:48
4. “A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That” – 5:09
5. “Simplicidad” – 4:58
6. “Ipanema Sol” – 5:28
7. “It Happens Every Day” – 5:43

Companies, etc.

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Victor Musical Industries, Inc.
Licensed From – JVC
Manufactured By – Elektra/Asylum Records
Distributed By – Elektra/Asylum Records
Copyright (c) – Elektra/Asylum Records
Recorded At – Estúdios da SIGLA
Recorded At – Santa Barbara Sound Design
Recorded At – A&R Studios
Recorded At – Davlen Sound Studios
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios

Credits

Acoustic Guitar, Producer – Lee Ritenour
Bass – Abraham Laboriel (tracks: 6, 7), Luizão Maia (tracks: 3, 5), Marcus Miller (tracks: 1, 2, 4)
Co-producer – Toshi Endo
Drums – Alex Acuna (tracks: 6, 7), Buddy Williams (tracks: 1, 2, 4), Paulinho Braga (tracks: 3, 5)
Engineer – Don Murray, Larry Rosen
Keyboards – Dave Grusin (tracks: 1, 2, 4), Don Grusin (tracks: 3, 5 to 7)
Percussion – Armando Marcal (tracks: 3, 5), Chico Batera (tracks: 3, 5), Jose Da Silva (tracks: 3, 5), Roberto Pinheiro (tracks: 3, 5), Rubens Bassini (tracks: 1, 2, 4), Steve Forman (tracks: 6, 7)
Rhythm Guitar – Jeff Mironov (tracks: 1, 2, 4), Oscar Neves (tracks: 3, 5)
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Ernie Watts (tracks: 6, 7)

Notes
Released: 1979
Recorded at: Studio Sigla Studio, Santa Barbara Sound, A&R Studio, Davlen Studio
Mastered at: The Mastering Lab and A&M Studio, Hollywood, CA.
Genre: Jazz, jazz fusion
Length: 40:05

Label – GRP, Elektra/Musician

Mick Ronson – Slaughter On 10th Avenue (1974)

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Slaughter on 10th Avenue is the debut album by Mick Ronson, released in 1974.

For inspiration, Ronson relied on Annette Peacock’s 1972 album I’m the One; he used the title track and her arrangement of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender”. Two songs were co-written by Ronson with Scott Richardson, who had been involved in the Ann Arbor music scene since the mid-’60s and came to prominence as lead singer of the SRC. Richardson was brought into the Bowie camp by Angie Bowie, who met him through Ron Asheton of the Stooges. During the recording of the album, Ronson considered putting together a new band with Richardson, Aynsley Dunbar, and Trevor Bolder, to be called the Fallen Angels, but plans fell through.

Reflecting, a decade after the fact, on his launch as a solo rock & roll superstar, Mick Ronson shrugged indifferently, as though he’d really had no say in the matter. David Bowie had just “retired” and, in the absence of the singing sensation with whom Ronson had already risen to unexpected heights, manager Tony DeFries was anxious to keep at least one of his many pots boiling. “Tony said to me, ‘okay, we can make you a big star, get you a deal with RCA, all that.’ So I said ‘wonderful,’ and went off to make my own record.”

Was there ever a launch like the one which awaited Mick Ronson? For a few weeks through the early spring of 1974, you couldn’t turn around without his blonde tresses and sad doe eyes staring out from the video still selected to represent his solo career: “Slaughter on 10th Avenue,” a histrionic guitar rendition of the Richard Rodgers movie classic, was an inspired choice, and the accompanying video — Ronson watching helplessly as his girl is gunned down on the street — remains one of the unseen classics of the genre. No mere miming potboiler for this Kid — Ronson got the full Hollywood treatment. The same can be said for the accompanying album. Slaughter on 10th Avenue remains a startling achievement, however it is viewed. Guitar gods, after all, were ten-a-penny through the ’70s. But could Ritchie Blackmore sing? Jimmy Page? Robin Trower? Ronno’s voice wasn’t strong, but with sensitive material and lyrics he could get behind, he was unbeatable. A deliciously Pelvis-less “Love Me Tender” opens the album with warm depth and sparkling cadences; “Only After Dark,” co-written with one-time SRC main man Scott Richardson, proved he hadn’t left the hard riffing behind. The watchword throughout was variety — from the proto-Springsteen-esque “Growing Up and I’m Fine” (the first and only Bowie/Ronson composition to be publicly acknowledged) to the chest-beating Euro-angst of “Music Is Lethal” — all were a showcase for Ronson the performer, rather than the man who garroted Gibsons for fun, and initial reviews of the album made that point. Of course, the guitar didn’t get off scot-free. The scorching ARP/guitar duel which concludes “Hey Ma, Get Papa” and, of course, the title track itself, were evidence of Ronson’s love for his day job, but today, it is the absence of screeching, squealing, neck-twisting frenzy which has ensured that Slaughter on 10th Avenue remain so much more than just another guitar picker’s solo record; that the album does, in fact, stand alongside any of Bowie’s own, immediately post-Ronson albums as a snapshot of a special time, when the triple disciplines of glam, rock, and “Precious Art” slammed into one another without a care in the world.

 

Tracklist

1.  “Love Me Tender”   (George R. Poulton, Ken Darby) – 4:50
2.  “Growing Up and I’m Fine”   (David Bowie) – 3:10
3.  “Only After Dark”   (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson) – 3:30
4.  “Music Is Lethal”   (Lucio Battisti, English lyrics by Bowie) – 5:10
5.  “I’m the One”   (Annette Peacock) – 5:03
6.  “Pleasure Man / Hey Ma Get Papa”   (Ronson, Richardson, Bowie) – 8:55
7.  “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue”   (Richard Rodgers) – 4:41

 

Personnel
Mick Ronson – guitar, piano, vocals, arrangement, conductor
Trevor Bolder – bass, trumpet, trombone
Aynsley Dunbar – drums, percussion
Mike Garson – piano, electric piano, organ
David Hentschel – ARP on “Hey Ma Get Papa”
Margaret Ronson – backing vocals
Dennis MacKay – engineer, backing vocals
Sidney Sax – strings
Leee Black Childers – cover
Producer – Mick Ronson

Notes
Released: February 1974
Recorded: July 1973 Studio Château d’Hérouville, Hérouville, France Trident Studios, London, England
Genre: Rock, glam rock
Length: 35:19

Label – RCA Records

Working Week – Working Nights (1985)

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Working Week was a British jazz-dance musical ensemble, active in the 1980s and 1990s.

Working Week was formed in 1983, by guitarist Simon Booth and saxophonist Larry Stabbins, from the ashes of the proto new wave jazz-pop band Weekend, which ceased to exist when singer Alison Statton left to become a schoolteacher. Weekend also paved the way for other Brit jazz-pop bands that followed such as Everything But The Girl and Swing Out Sister. The duo released its debut single “Venceremos (We Will Win)” the following year, a tribute to Chilean protest singer Víctor Jara featuring vocal contributions from Robert Wyatt and Tracey Thorn from Everything but the Girl. It became the band’s sole entry in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #64. The single featured founder members of the London School of Samba, notably Bosco de Oliveira and Dawson Miller. Other early members of the group also performed with the band. Singer Julie Tippetts provided vocals for the follow-up “Storm of Light”.

A debut album, Working Nights was released in April 1985, with vocalist Juliet Roberts added as a full-time member of the band. Initial copies of the LP had a bonus 12″ featuring (Jalaluddin) Jalal Mansur Nuriddin (also known as Lightnin’ Rod, birth name Alafia Pudin) of The Last Poets.

The original vinyl release consisted of the first eight tracks on this reissue; a set of tunes that still sounds sharp and exciting almost 30 years after its release. The additional tracks—a mix of alternative versions, live recordings and remixes—are no mere fillers. The extensive list of guest musicians and singers is a veritable who’s who of the best, most forward-looking, performers of the time, such as trumpeters Guy Barker and Harry Beckett, saxophonist Chris Biscoe, trombonist Annie Whitehead and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo.

These players add a real spark to the music: Dave Bitelli’s clarinet on “Venceremos” heightens the song’s intensity; Whitehead’s powerful, raw solo energizes “No Cure, No Pay”; while Beckett adds his own fiery solo to the same track. Stabbins is also an emphatic presence on the frontline, showing his technical and emotional range with a soprano sax solo on “Autumn Boy” and tenor solo on Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.”

The guest vocalists are also stellar. Tracey Thorn, of Everything But The Girl, and Robert Wyatt duet on all three versions of “Venceremos (We Will Win),” while Julie Tippetts leads on “Storm Of Light.” These three voices have their own soulfulness, a contrast to Roberts’ more raw-edged sound but still full of emotion and commitment. There’s also a fluid, intense rap from The Last Poets’ Jalal on “Stella Marin

 

Tracklist

1. “Inner City Blues” (Marvin Gaye, James Nyx Jr.) – 5:44
2. “Sweet Nothing” (Booth) – 3:39
3. “Who’s Fooling Who” – 5:04
4. “Thought I’d Never See You Again” – 6:26
5. “Autumn Boy” – 6:33
6. “Solo” – 4:40
7. “Venceremos” (Booth) – 4:41
8. “No Cure No Pay” (Stabbins) – 8:28

All tracks composed by Simon Booth and Larry Stabbins, except where noted.

Companies, etc.

Recorded At – Power Plant Studios
Recorded At – Dining Suite
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Published By – Warner Bros. Music Ltd.
Published By – Jobete Music (UK) Ltd.
Distributed By – Virgin Records Ltd.

Credits

Arranged By [Horns] – Larry Stabbins (tracks: 2 to 9)
Arranged By [Strings] – Nick Ingman
Bass – Chucho Merchan (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 7), Ernest Mothle (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8)
Drums – Louis Moholo, Nic France (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Roy Dodds (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8)
Engineer – Ben Rogan, John Acock, Pete Brown 
Engineer [Assistant] – Simon Driscoll
Engineer [Production] – Mike Pela, Steve Churchyard
Guitar [Additional] – Robin Millar (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Mixed By – Robin Millar
Percussion – Dawson (tracks: 2, 5 to 8), Joao Bosco De Oliveira (tracks: 2, 5 to 8), Martin Ditcham (tracks: 1, 3, 4)
Piano – Kim Burton
Producer – Robin Millar (tracks: 1 to 7, 9)
Producer, Guitar, Arranged By [Songs] – Simon Booth
Saxophone [Soprano], Saxophone [Tenor], Flute, Arranged By [Songs] – Larry Stabbins
Trombone – Annie Whitehead (tracks: 2, 6, 8), Malcolm Griffiths (tracks: 3, 4, 5)
Trumpet – Guy Barker (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Harry Beckett (tracks: 2, 5, 8)
Vocals – Jalal, Juliet Roberts

Notes

Release Date 1985
Genre: Jazz, Latin, Funk / Soul
Style: Acid Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Latin Jazz, Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk
Duration: 56:16

Label – Virgin Records

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists – Living With The Living (2007)

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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (sometimes written Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, or TL/Rx) are an American rock band formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C. They have released six full-length studio albums and have toured internationally. Though the group’s lineup has fluctuated throughout their career, singer/guitarist Ted Leo has remained the band’s main songwriter, creative force, and only constant member. The group’s music combines elements of punk rock, indie rock, art punk,[1] traditional rock, and occasionally folk music and dub reggae.

When it comes to consistency, Ted Leo is the man. When it comes to writing songs bristling with nervy energy and sincere conviction that inspire, question, and reflect, there are only a few of his peers that can really measure up. Living with the Living marks full-length number five for Leo and his crew of Pharmacists, and it’s another literate and stirring collection of songs built around his sweetly elastic voice and tightly wound guitars. On personal and human levels, he hits it all — anger, happiness, frustration, love, uncertainty, hope, sadness, rebellion — in songs that burst with passion and a true zest for being alive; cuts like the bright immediacy of “The Sons of Cain” and the tender Irish-flavored frolic of “A Bottle of Buckie” find Leo in top form and easily put a smile on one’s face. Bitter political assertions surface like usual, yet nothing in Leo’s career thus far hits quite as hard as the acerbically blunt rant of “Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.” Brazen, in-your-face and stretched to the seams with seething defiance, Leo basically barks a giant fuck you to the government.

It’s all upfront danger and burning emotion when he spits, “Oh sure, you could mobilize a million troops…but then people start to ask questions/So when you drop in out of the white clouds in a blue sky/Don’t worry about them having to see the whites of your blue eyes.” The anxious pace and shout-singing make the song a definite standout, and though there are other tracks present to further vary things a bit — the dub-inflected “The Unwanted Things,” the slow-paced poignancy of “The Toro and the Toreador” — the one fault (if you can find one at all with him) is that Leo has basically been writing the same album for the last few years. All excellent albums with stellar songs, but really, there’s not much sonically to separate his records (or his pretty straightforward, by-now almost formulaic songs) out from one another. Plenty of Living with the Living measures up with his best, so it’s really hard to knock such a likable guy who obviously knows his strengths and can consistently execute great songs — sentimental and motivating, socially conscious and challenging, Leo hardly falters. Yet although his mixture of politics, heart and intelligence with taut guitars and a sweet falsetto will presumably be engaging forever (and Leo hits much more than he ever misses), it’s getting hard to ignore that little voice inside that wants something more from him. Something a bit different that stretches his songwriting further and shows that he’s really trying to push himself. There’s no denying his talent, and five winning albums is still a hell of a streak. But Ted, we know you’ve got more in you.

 

Tracklist

1. “Fourth World War” – 0:35
2. “The Sons of Cain” – 3:59
3. “Army Bound” – 3:11
4. “Who Do You Love?” – 4:14
5. “Colleen” – 3:05
6. “A Bottle of Buckie” – 3:11
7. “Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.” – 3:18
8. “La Costa Brava” – 5:56
9. “Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day” – 1:33
10. “The Unwanted Things” – 4:33
11. “The Lost Brigade” – 7:28
12. “The World Stops Turning” – 3:26
13. “Some Beginner’s Mind” – 3:50
14. “The Toro and the Toreador” – 6:09
15. “C.I.A.” – 6:33
16. “The Vain Parade” (iTunes bonus track) – 6:28

All songs written by Ted Leo.

Personnel
Ted Leo – guitar, vocals, other instrumentation
Dave Lerner – bass
Chris Wilson – drums

Album information
Record label: Touch and Go Records
Recorded September 24, 2006 – October 5, 2006 at Longview Farms in North Brookfield, Massachusetts with engineering by Ian Neill, and October 8, 2006 – October 14, 2006 at Blind Spot Studios in Washington, D.C. with engineering by Brendan Canty
Mixed October 15, 2006 – October 22, 2006 at Blind Spot Studios in Washington, D.C. by Ted Leo and Brendan Canty
Mastered November 28, 2006 at SAE Studios in Phoenix, Arizona by Roger Seibel
Design by Jodi V.B. and Ida Pearle
Photography by Shawn Brackbill
Producer by Brendan Canty

Notes
Released: March 20, 2007
Recorded: September–October 2006
Genre: Art punk, punk rock, indie rock
Length: 61:07

Label – Touch and Go Records

Steel Pulse – Earth Crisis (1984)

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Steel Pulse are a roots reggae musical band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England, which has a large number of Afro-Caribbean, Indian and other Asian migrants. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School – composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass); along with Basil’s brother Colin briefly on drums and Michael Riley (vocals, percussion). Steel Pulse were the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Earth Crisis is a roots reggae album released by Steel Pulse in January 1984. It is Steel Pulse’s fifth studio album. On the album cover are pictures of American President Ronald Reagan, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, Pope John Paul II, a Ku Klux Klansman, a Vietnamese refugee, and other historical pictures.

Not quite the landmark that Handsworth Revolution was, Earth Crisis suffers from uneven songwriting and dated, polished production that’s sometimes too slick for its own good. What’s more, the album is poorly sequenced, placing the weakest cuts, “Steppin’ Out” and “Tightrope,” at the very beginning. “Throne of Gold,” the album’s love song, has beautiful lyrics but lacks a truly compelling melody to get them across. After that, the album picks up with a string of superior songs, all of which decry social injustice and have powerful music to back them up, though they occasionally drag on longer than they need to and are saddled with horn and synthesizer parts that sound superfluous. Still, the strength of material in the album’s second half definitely proves why Steel Pulse earned their reputation as a top-notch act. Had the songs been more focused, the production less slick, and the album sequenced correctly, Earth Crisis would stand as a watershed album of the ’80s. As it stands, it’s certainly worth hearing, but probably not the place where newcomers should be introduced to Steel Pulse’s talents.

Earth Crisis peaked at #154 on The Billboard 200 chart in 1984.

 

Tracklist

1. “Steppin’ Out” – 4:02
2. “Tightrope” – 4:10
3. “Throne of Gold” – 4:25
4. “Roller Skates” – 4:54
5. “Earth Crisis” – 4:55
6. “Bodyguard” – 4:26
7. “Grab Education” – 6:12
8. “Wild Goose Chase” – 5:40

All tracks written by David Hinds.

Personnel
Steve “Grizzly” Nesbitt – drums & percussion
Selwyn “Bumbo” Brown – Keyboards & vocals
David Hinds – Lead vox, rhythm, & Lead Guitar
Alphonso Martin – percussion & vocals
Ronald “Stepper” McQueen – Bass
Jimmy Haynes – Bass & Lead Guitar
Carl Atkins – Sax solo

Credits
Mixed By – Dennis Thompson, Mark Stent, Terry Barham
Producer – Jimmy Haynes, Steel Pulse

Companies, etc.
Mastered At – Sterling Sound

Notes
Released: January 1984
Recorded: Horizon Studio, Coventry, England, 1983
Genre: Reggae
Length: 38:44

Label – Elektra Records

Stabbing Westward – (1996) Wither Blister Burn + Peel

by Record Facts

Wither Blister Burn & Peel is the second album released on Columbia Records by the American industrial rock band Stabbing Westward. The album was recorded in New York State in late 1995, and was released on January 4, 1996 in New York City and Los Angeles. The album was released throughout the rest of the United States on January 23, 1996, and includes the singles “What Do I Have To Do?” and “Shame”, which helped push the album to gold status.

Stabbing Westward’s second album finds them discarding the lo-fi aggro-synth assault of their first album for a more mainstream “guitar-driven sound.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you have to wonder why they would do such a thing. Is it because they wished to become mainstream and “get paid,” as the saying goes? Or was it a producer who thought, “Hmmm, I can turn them into a money-making machine…”? The general consensus is that Stabbing Westward are ripping off Nine Inch Nails, but upon closer inspection you will probably find they owe more to the British synth poppers Depeche Mode than anyone. This is especially true on the “emotional” synth-bass of “What Do I Have to Do?” and the alien landscape sounds of “Sleep.” Is a critic’s reasoning, “Oh well, who remembers synth pop anyway? Let’s just say they sound like Nine Inch Nails and nobody will care…”? Sure, Christopher Hall writes depressing lyrics and sings in a way reminiscent of Trent Reznor, but the question is, are they a good band? The answer is both yes and no. They appear to want to be a good band but are held back because they let themselves succumb to many musical clichés and formulas. With Wither Blister Burn & Peel, they’ve lost the creative spark they had with their first album, Ungod, and any potential that had been amassed. They can keep this up, though, just as long as it continues to sell. Seriously though, its an OK album as long as you’re not expecting too much from it. If you’re looking for an album with lots of depth, you will be sorely disappointed.

“What Do I Have To Do?” was the band’s first hit, thanks to heavy MTV exposure, first reaching the Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it would peak at #11, then achieving even greater success on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it peaked at #7. “Shame” was released soon after, matching “What Do I Have To Do”‘s #7 peak on the Mainstream Rock chart, and peaking at #14 on the Modern Rock chart.

 

Tracklist

1.  “I Don’t Believe” – 4:21
2.  “Shame” – 4:54
3.  “What Do I Have to Do?” – 4:09
4.  “Why” – 6:08
5.  “Inside You” – 3:43
6.  “Falls Apart” – 3:57
7.  “So Wrong” – 3:24
8.  “Crushing Me” – 4:21
9.  “Sleep” – 5:21
10.  “Slipping Away” – 6:15

All tracks written by Stabbing Westward.

 

Personnel
Christopher Hall – lead vocals, guitar, drum machine programming
Mark Eliopulos – guitar, backing vocals
Jim Sellers – bass
Walter Flakus – keyboards, programming
Andy Kubiszewski – drums, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Producer – John Fryer

 

Notes
Released: January 23, 1996
Recorded: 1995 in New York City
Genre: Industrial rock, industrial metal, alternative metal
Length: 46:36

Label – Columbia Records

The Stanky Brown Group – If The Lights Don´t Get You The Helots Will (1977)

by Record Facts

According to Jerry Cordasco and he should know, he was the drummer for The SBG, they were from New Jersey, NOT Austrailia. I didn’t make that up, I heard or read it somewhere, but nevertheless the record has been set straight now).

The Jersey based boys put out 3 albums in the mid ’70’s before disappearing off the radar. There are some weak moments on this first effort as there is on many first efforts, but there are also some great tunes that are well done. My favorites include Masquerade, Let’s Get To Livin’ and U. B. U.

I was the drummer for Stanky Brown. We were NOT an Australian band at all but were from New Jersey. We were originally signed to Arista Records and released a single for them called “Rockin Rollin Star”. We were managed by John Scher, one of the biggest east coast promoters and owner of the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.
I think you might have gotten confused about the Austrailian thing because our third album on Sire was produced by Charles Fisher of Austraila (he later produced Savage Garden).
I did play with the Blues Brothers early on along with the rest of Stanky Brown as the rhythm section. I also toured with Jonathan Edwards along with Richard Bunkiewicz on bass, and we did a live album with him (that might be one for you to review!).
I now have a recording studio as does Jim Brown. Interestingly enough we are in the process of re-recording some Stanky Brown stuff.

If you’re up for hearing new things that you missed the first time around then I’d suggest taking the time to download this one and give it a listen. I feel like I say it all the time but it’s true, this is another band which didn’t get the recognition their talent should’ve entitled them to receive.
As a side note I learned while searching for a website or other online info that Jerry Cordasco (drummer) went on to play drums for the Blues Brothers among many others.

Here is the 2nd effort from this 70’s New Jersey band.
Solid effort full of catchy tunes that are toe tappers.
I think it’s a tighter effort and more solid all around this time around.

 

Tracklist

1.  Coal Town – 3:20
2.  Life Beyond – 4:04
3.  Woman, Don’t Let It Slip Away – 3:25
4.  Confident Man – 3:14
5.  Faith In The Family – 3:53
6.  Alone Tonight – 3:11
7.  Good To Me – 3:00
8.  As A Lover, I’m A Loser – 2:32
9.   Stop In The Name Of Love   (Holland/ Dozier/ Holland) – 3:06
10.  Free And Easy – 5:03

All arrangements by James Brown and Stanky Brown

 
Personnel
James Brown – Vocals/ Keyboards
Jeffrey Leynor – Vocals/ Guitars
Richard Bunkiewicz – Bass
Jerry M. Cordasco – Drums/ Percussion
Alan J. Ross – Sax/ Clarinet/ Flute
Jimmy Miller – Guitar
Chris Dedrick – Strings and Horns Arrangements

with
Elliot Randall – Electric-Guitar
Jimmy Maelen – Congas on track 7
Werner Fritzsching – Guitar on tracks 3 & 8 / Solo-Guitar on track 1
Lynn Pitney – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9
David Lasley – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9
Arnold McCuller – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9

 
Credits
Produced By – Hank Medress & Dave Appell
Engineer – Billy Radice
Assistant Engineer – Michael Getlin
Mixed By – Hank Medress, Dave Appell, Billy Radice
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York, N. Y.
Cover Art – Moshe Brakha

 
Notes

Release Date: 1977
Recorded At – The Hit Factory, New York, N. Y.
Genre: Pop/Rock
Duration: 35:30

Label – Sire Records