Monday, May 30, 2016

John Mclaughlin - 1978- 1979 [2010] "Electric Guitarist" & "Electric Dreams"


Digitally remastered two CD set containing a pair of albums from the legendary guitarist and Mahavishnu Orchestra leader: Electric Guitarist and Electric Dreams (both released in 1979). Ex-Graham Bond and Brian Auger guitarist McLaughlin's career took off when he went to the States in 1969 to join Tony Williams' Lifetime. From then on, he became one of the most acclaimed Jazz/Rock guitarists of the '70s and beyond.

Since both of these post-Shakti albums feature the word "electric" in their titles, it seems that guitarist McLaughlin wanted to emphasize his more plugged-in side to those who might not have followed along on three previous releases featuring his acoustic world music band. He also thumbs through his impressive phone book to call in some of the cream of the 1977 crop of jazz fusionists to help him out on Electric Guitarist, a true return to form. Ex-Mahavishnu members Jerry Goodman and Billy Cobham assist in kicking things off just like in the old days with "New York on My Mind," a tune that could have been an outtake from his earlier Mahavishnu Orchestra work. Also along for the ride is Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Carlos Santana, Jack Bruce, and four legendary drummers including Cobham, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, and Narada Michael Walden. Unfortunately, the credits don't specify who plays on which track (well-written liner notes would help there), but anyone familiar with the distinctive styles of these artists can easily pick them out. McLaughlin is in fine form throughout, especially when playing clean, staccato, bent notes on the ballad "Every Tear from Every Eye." The majority of the selections stay in a more subtle but amped-up groove as McLaughlin shifts from dreamy to a faster, more straight-ahead tempo on the seven-minute "Do You Hear the Voices that You Left Behind?" A duet with Billy Cobham on "Phenomenon: Compulsion" provides the set's most frantic fireworks as both musicians air out their chops on a breathless, galloping piece with some of the guitarist's most furious picking. Electric Dreams features McLaughlin's One Truth band on an album from the same year. The same players back him throughout, so the sound isn't quite as diverse. There is still a nice balance of ballads and burners, and some tunes that mix both such as "Desire and the Comforter," which is pushed by Fernando Saunders' amplified fretless bass, a ringer for Jaco Pastorius. Saunders takes the collection's only vocal on "Love and Understanding," undercut by well-meaning but schlock-heavy lyrics about being one with the universe as McLaughlin does his best Santana impersonation. The boat rights itself for the two final fusion numbers that find the group locking in and McLaughlin spinning off sweet, sharp lines that leave no doubt as to how exceptional a guitarist he is. BGO's remastering is clean and these titles make perfect companions on a single disc with almost 80 minutes of prime, very electric John McLaughlin music.

Track List:

01 New York In My Mind
02 Friendship
03 Every Tear From Every Eye
04 Do You Hear The Voices That You Left Behind?
05 Are You The One? Are You The One?
06 Phenomenon Compulsion
07 My Foolish Heart
08 Guardian Angels
09 Miles Davis
10 Electric Dreams
11 Electric Sighs
12 Desire And The Comforter
13 Love And Understanding
14 Singing Earth
15 The Dark Prince
16 The Unknown Dissident


John Mclaughlin - 1978 "Electric Guitarist"

If you listen to McLaughlin's version of "My Foolish Heart" from 1978's Johnny McLaughlin - Electric Guitarist, it's hard to logically explain how the same guitarist had also produced the sounds found on so many of his earlier records. It's hard to reconcile this tune with his approach on his debut Extrapolation, Miles' Tribute to Jack Johnson, Larry Coryell's Spaces, and various recordings by the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti. None of those earlier performances would have prepared you for McLaughlin's beautiful treatment of Victor Young and Nat Washington's jazz standard. His warm and serene arrangement sounds like the antithesis of what McLaughlin was known for.

Electric Guitarist was meant to be a comeback record for McLaughlin. Columbia Records was none too pleased that McLaughlin had produced three straight records with his Indian acoustic world music group Shakti. These records would eventually reach legendary status, but at the time they sold embarrassingly poorly. There was hope at Columbia that Electric Guitarist would bring John McLaughlin back to the top of the record sales heap. In the end, although it sold well, it did not sell as many records as Columbia had hoped.

Electric Guitarist features many of McLaughlin's contemporaries, including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Narada Michael Walden, Carlos Santana, Jerry Goodman, and David Sanborn. There is not one weak cut on the entire album. Electric Guitarist also marks the first recorded use of McLaughlin's scalloped fretboard electric guitar, an idea from his Shakti experience that gave him a brand new sound. McLaughlin was able to bend notes and even chords beyond limits. This technique opened up a whole new vocabulary for his compositions.

Key cuts to play really loud include a duet with Billy Cobham, "Phenomenon-Compulsion," and "Are You the One? Are You the One?," featuring Tony Williams and Jack Bruce. This tune harkens back to the great Tony Williams Lifetime that featured McLaughlin, Bruce and the late Larry Young on organ. Even though, for obvious reasons, Young couldn't make this gig, he would have loved this tune. "Do You Hear The Voices You Left Behind," based upon the changes of Coltrane's "Giant Steps," is an unrelenting jazz force that McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette play for all they are worth.

Many all-star recordings do not live up to their promise. This album is not one of them. John McLaughlin- Electric Guitarist was the last important recording of the initial jazz-fusion movement.

Musicians - Electric Guitarist

- John McLaughlin / electric guitar
- Jack Bruce / bass on track 5
- Billy Cobham / drums on tracks 1 & 6
- Stanley Clark / acoustic bass on track 4
- Chick Corea / piano and mini-moog on track 4
- Tom Coster / organ on track 2
- Jack DeJohnette / drums on track 4
- Stu Goldberg / electric piano, organ and mini-moog synthesizer on track 1
- Jerry Goodman / violin on track 1
- Neil Jason / bass on track 2
- Alphonso Johnson / Taurus Bass Pedals and Bass on track 3
- Alyrio Lima / percussion on track 2
- Armando Peraza / congas on track 2
- Patrice Rushen / piano on track 3
- David Sanborn / alto saxophone on track 3
- Carlos Santana / electric guitar on track 2
- Fernando Saunders / bass on track 1
- Tony Smith / drums on track 3
- Michael Walden / drums on track 2
- Tony Williams / drums on track 5

John Mclaughlin - 1979 "Electric Dreams"

 The last three minutes of "Desire and the Comforter" from Electric Dreams say it all about John McLaughlin. He just tears apart his electric guitar with cascades of funk, blues, rock, jazz, and Far-Eastern scales. Every strike of a string has individual meaning. His guitar soars above the chord changes and captures the spirit of the music. He leaves space (or texture) where it should be left. Like no other guitarist on earth, John McLaughlin knows when not to play, despite claims from those who say he plays too many notes. And even though there are a million notes a minute on this tune, the spaces in between the notes create the epiphany.

McLaughlin recorded Electric Dreams with the One Truth Band, which also included L. Shankar on violin, Tony Smith on drums, Stu Goldberg on keyboards, Fernando Saunders on bass, and Alyrio Lima handling various percussion duties. The OTB was a much more rhythmic unit than JM's previous bands, and although its members may not have been the "master" musicians like those who comprised The Mahavishnu Orchestra, they certainly knew how to "funk a groove". Electric Dreams is full of such grooves and infectious tunes. Sure, we could have lived without the God-awful "Love and Understanding". But Electric Dreams offers the beautiful "Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs", featuring JM on banjo! The classic “Dark Prince” is a brooding, straight-ahead jazz-fusion homage to Miles that overshadows the album’s other Miles tribute piece, “Miles Davis."

On this recording, McLaughlin used a guitar that had a scalloped fret board. The concave spaces allowed McLaughlin to stretch notes beyond believability. A main component of the band's sound, Shankar's far-eastern violin, does seem ill placed at times, and Goldberg's synth patches are outdated in some areas as well. But, these issues actually endow the album with a bit of charm. The veterans Smith and Saunders make for a very steady rhythm section. Lima is more effective in concert than on this recording. Saxophonist David Sanborn, a guest star on several McLaughlin albums, makes a more than welcome guest appearance on the haunting “Unknown Dissident”.

The mix wasn't always successful. But on the whole, Electric Dreams offers some of the best composing and playing of McLaughlin's career and has been unfairly overlooked.

Musicians - Electric Dreams:

- John McLaughlin / Electric guitar, 6 + 12 + 13 string acoustic guitars and banjo
- L. Shankar / Acoustic and electric violin
- Stu Goldberg / Electric piano, Moog synthesizer with Steiner Parker modifications, Prophet synthesizer, Hammond organ
- Fernando Sanders - Fender bass, acoustic bass, vocals on "Love And Understanding"
- Tony Smith / Drums and vocals
- Alyrio Lima / Percussion, amplified Chinese cymbals
- David Sanborn / Alto saxophone on "The Unknown Dissident"

Santana - 2010 "Original Album Classics 3"

This little box set is great value, especially if you love the fusion side of Carlos Santana. In fact I enjoyed this so much on the first listen it is hard to decide which one to spin again first! I had owned Illuminations on vinyl previously and it's as great as I recalled. Swing of Delight (a two record set on a single CD)is new to me. You won't find much of the classic Santana sound here but this is one of Carlos's finest accomplishments. The thing I find interesting about this music is that it appeared AFTER the Santana band proper had returned to a more air play consumer friendly sound. As a musician who dabbles with jazz I feel this music is far more interesting. I just wish he'd continue releasing the solo stuff like this

It's fusion but it does not sound particularly dated like a lot of fusion from that era does. I have a theory about why. Electronic instruments at this time were out of date by the time a record was released because the technology changed so quickly. So many artists fell victim to the synth thing. What sounded great at the time sounds a lot like Nintendo game music today. Tom Coster was not overly indulgent with synthesizers and when he did use them he used additional pedals and a touch technique that produced a very organic sound. For example the synth on Dance Sister Dance sounds like a guitar rather than a mini moog Coster was known for this ability in the Santana band. So Swing will get lots of rotation from me. Oneness is great stuff too but a little unusual. In places it reminds me of Weather Report lineup #3 Some have compared it to Borboletta (one of my favorites) but I really don't hear that at all. Still, I like the entire album. The sound on these CD's is very good try not to get hung up on is it or isn't it remastered. With these box sets you get whatever the latest edition of the CdD single release might happen to be. You can't go wrong at this price.

Now some reviewers complain about no liner notes or credits with these 3 and 5 album value sets. Nonsense! Let the music speak and if you want to see personnel all of these are documented on Wikipedia. The mini Lp sleeves are sturdy and pretty cool. I do miss this fusion side of Carlos Santana and do wish he would stop trying to repeat the success of Supernatural and get back to making more of this great music. In the meantime we have these. I thought Carlos' fusion was abandoned after Borboletta so discovering Swing of Delight and Oneness was finding more of that great work. My favorite Santana works are: Caravanserai, Welcome, Lotus, Borboletta, Amigos. If you like those then you will like this box set a lot.

These are three of Carlos Santana's rock/jazz fusion albums in one package. These are from Carlos Santana as opposed to the Santana band, although I think that Oneness is really a Santana band album. The good news is you get three albums that had come in 4 LPs for a very cheap price.
The bad news is that this a very stripped down package with no credits or album information. The CDs come in cardboard sleeves that are shrunk versions of the original LP covers. The problem is that the track listings and credits were not on the outside of the album covers. They were included in the LP sleeves for two of the albums and in the center of the gatefold for Swing of Delight. So, unless you have the original LPs or go online, you don't know who played on these albums.

The sound quality is very good to excellent on all three discs.

The first disc is Illuminations, which is supposed to be a duet with harpist/organist Alice Coltrane. There really isn't that much Coltrane on the album. I found half the album to be to ethereal ambient type music that relied too much on a string section. It does have about 15 minutes of great music for jazz greats Jack DeJonnette and David Holland. I give this album 3 stars.

Oneness could be considered a Santana band album because it contains members of the Santana band at the time it was recorded in 1979. However, it sounds a lot like the Santana album from 1974, Borboletta. This is a very good jazz/rock/latin fusion album with some great parts and some good songs. I give it 4 to 5 stars.

Swing of Delight was originally issued as a double LP. But, it is only 56 minutes long and could have been released as a single LP. I never like playing it because I would have to get up every 13 minutes to flip the album. It is great that it is a single album. This is more of a jazz/rock fusion album with very little Latin influence. For the first half of the album, it is difficult to tell that Carlos Santana was involved. Even his guitar playing is significantly different. I really enjoy the change. Later on, he does revert back to some of the Latin influences and his famous guitar style. I give this one a solid 5 stars.


 1974 [2010] "Illuminataions"


Illuminations is a 1974 collaboration between Carlos Santana and Alice Coltrane. Jazz musicians Jules Broussard, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland also contributed to the record, on saxophone, flute, drums and bass. Alice Coltrane delivers some harp glissando, while the string orchestra adds a serene mood to the music. Carlos Santana (whose Indian name "Devadip" appears on the sleeve) plays electric guitar in his own fashion, utilizing feedback, long notes and simple melodies, letting much space to the other instruments. The album is conceived as an instrumental jazz album, with lengthy solos on guitar, saxophone and keyboards. The introduction to "Angel of Air", with its violins, has been sampled by the Cinematic Orchestra. It is his first of three solo albums (the others being Oneness and The Swing of Delight) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy.

For his third duet album, Carlos Santana performed the works of John Coltrane, paired with Coltrane's widow, harpist/keyboardist Alice Coltrane, on this instrumental album. Side One includes several contemplative, string-filled numbers, while Side Two presents Santana's re-creation of John Coltrane's late free jazz style in "Angel of Sunlight."

Track Listing:

  1. Guru Sri Chinmoy Aphorism - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  2. Angel of Air / Angel of Water - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane / Devadip Carlos Santana / Turiya Alice Coltrane
  3. Bliss: The Eternal Now - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  4. Angel of Sunlight - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  5. Illuminations - Devadip Carlos Santana / Turiya Alice Coltrane

Personnel

    Carlos Santana - Guitar
    Alice Coltrane - Harp, Piano, Wurlitzer Organ
    Tom Coster - Electric Piano and Hammond Organ - 2,4,5
    Dave Holland - Double Bass - 2,4
    Jack DeJohnette - Drums and Percussion - 2,4
    Jules Broussard - Flute, Soprano Saxophone - 2,4
    Phil Brown - Tamboura - 4
    Armando Peraza - Congas - 4
    Phil Ford - Tablas - 4


1979 [2010] "Oneness Silver Dreams-Golden Reality"

Oneness: Silver Dreams - Golden Reality is a 1979 album by Carlos Santana. It was his second of three solo albums (the others being Illuminations and The Swing of Delight) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy. The album features members of the band Santana, and consists mostly of instrumental songs and ballads.

This is the first Carlos Santana solo album. It features members of the Santana band as backup, however, so the difference between a group effort and a solo work seems to be primarily in the musical approach, which is more esoteric, and more varied than on a regular band album. The record is mostly instrumental and given over largely to contemplative ballads, although there is also, for example, in the song "Silver Dreams Golden Smiles," a traditional pop ballad sung by Saunders King.

Track listing:

  1. The Chosen Hour
  2. Arise Awake
  3. Light Versus Darkness
  4. Jim Jeannie
  5. Transformation (Excerpt from Hovhaness' "Mysterious Mountain")
  6. Victory
  7. Silver Dreams Golden Smiles
  8. Cry of the Wilderness
  9. Guru's Song
  10. Oneness
  11. Life Is Just a Passing Parade
  12. Golden Dawn
  13. Free As the Morning Sun
  14. I Am Free (Excerpt from "The Soul-Bird")
  15. Song for Devadip

Personnel:

    Carlos Santana - Guitar, Vocals
    Chris Solberg - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
    Urmila Santana - Vocals
    David Margen - Bass
    Narada Michael Walden - Drums
    Chris Rhyne - Keyboards
    Clare Fischer - String arrangements and conductor; Piano on "Silver Dreams Golden Smiles"
    Saunders King - Guitar, Vocals
    Graham Lear - Drums
    Bob Levy - Synthesizer
    Tom Coster - Keyboards, Vocals
    Pete Escovedo - Percussion
    Armando Peraza - Percussion, Vocals


1980 [2010] "The Swing Of Delight"

The Swing of Delight is a 1980 double album by Carlos Santana. It was the last of three solo albums (the others being Illuminations in 1974 and Oneness in 1979) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy.

For his second "solo" album, Carlos Santana used Miles Davis' famed '60s group--Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams -- plus members of the current Santana band, for a varied, jazz-oriented session that was one of his more pleasant excursions from the standard Santana sound. (Originally released as a double-LP, The Swing of Delight was reissued on a single CD.)

Track listing:

  1. Swapan Tari
  2. Love Theme from "Spartacus"
  3. Phuler Matan
  4. Song for My Brother
  5. Jharna Kala
  6. Gardenia
  7. La Llave
  8. Golden Hours
  9. Sher Khan, the Tiger

Personnel:

    Written-By – D.C. Santana* (tracks: 4, 6 to 8), Sri Chinmoy (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
    Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Percussion, Vocals – Devadip Carlos Santana
    Soprano Sax – Premik Russell Tubbs (tracks: 1, 3), Wayne Shorter (tracks: 2, 6, 9)
    Tenor Sax – Premik Russell Tubbs (tracks: 4, 5), Wayne Shorter (tracks: 3, 9)
    Acoustic Piano, Rhodes, Clavinet, Synthesizer [Clavitar, Prophet 5, Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim 8 Voice, Brass, Strings] – Herbie Hancock
    Acoustic Bass – Ron Carter (tracks: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9)
    Bass – David Margen (tracks: 1, 4, 5, 8,)
    Drums – Tony Williams (tracks: 1, 3, 6), Graham Lear (tracks: 5, 8), Harvey Mason (tracks: 2, 4, 7, 9)
    Congas, Bongos, Percussion – Armando Peraza
    Congas, Percussion, Vocals – Raul Rekow
    Timbales, Percussion, Vocals – Orestes Vilato

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Chris Potter - 1998 "Vertigo"

Shortly before the recording of Vertigo, Chris Potter suffered partial hearing loss after undergoing treatments for Ménière’s disease, an inner ear condition. Vertigo was in fact one of the symptoms he had been experiencing. Despite (or perhaps because of) the somewhat frightening circumstance that led to its title, Vertigo is Potter's most mature and expressive work to date. "Almost Home" and "Wake Up" are two of his prettiest, most memorable melodies. "Fishy" and the title track feature bass clarinet overdubs that double Scott Colley's basslines, to great effect. "Shiva" opens the record with an angular melodic line, stated in unison with utmost precision by Potter and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, whose warm yet crisp tone is a delight. Drummer Billy Drummond trades 12-bar solo statements with Colley on "Long Walk, Short Pier," the first of three tracks to feature guest tenor man Joe Lovano. ("This Will Be," based on the standard "My Shining Hour," and "Modeen's Mood," a free-form tribute to drummer Paul Motian, are the other two.) "Act III, Scene I" is a rubato meditation on the most famous Shakespeare soliloquy of them all ("To be or not to be"). Even more than Unspoken, Potter's superstar session with John Scofield, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette, Vertigo reveals Potter as a player and composer with an uncommonly personal vision.

Everyone nowadays wants to be a songwriter, it seems, and young Chris Potter is no exception. All of the songs on Vertigo, Potter's fifth date under his own name for Concord Jazz, were composed by the 27-year-old South Carolinian, and none of them, to these ears, serves as more than a convenient springboard for improvisation. As for the latter, it is shared primarily by Potter on tenor, bass clarinet or soprano (on "Wake Up"), guitarist Rosenwinkel and Potter's guest, Joe Lovano, who unlimbers his hard-edged, post-bop tenor on three numbers - "Long Walk, Short Pier," "This Will Be" and "Modeen's Mood" (the last dedicated to drummer Paul Motian). Potter, once a young lion, has been around for so long that he can uphold the label old veteran, even though age 30 isn't even on the horizon. His playing, once fiery and straightforward, has undergone subtle changes too; he's become mellower and more introspective, added depth as well as dissonance to the repertoire, even though he reverts often to the "more-notes-I-can-spray-the-better" school. Is the new approach more desirable? Depends on one's point of view (and how open his or her mind is to new concepts). Mine? It's open only a crack, I'm afraid. That is to say, the new and improved Potter is not displeasing but I preferred the earlier hard-boppin' model - however, that's only one person's opinion. As for Lovano, he moves easily into any given environment, and is solidly in the groove here, matching Chris stride for stride on his three numbers. The third solo voice, that of Rosenwinkel, is indeed a pleasant surprise. He knows his way around, and fares quite well whenever his turn at bat arrives. In fact, his presence is sorely missed on the only Potter/Lovano pairing - "Long Walk, Short Pier" - on which he's not included. Colley and Drummond are there largely to keep the rhythm flowing, which they do with characteristic ease and assurance. In fact, everyone plays well - although Potter and Lovano do scrape the blackboard of irksomeness from time to time - and if I were more enamored of Potter's still-developing prowess as a composer, the session would receive more than a lukewarm endorsement.
 
Chris Potter's quartet shares the spotlight both individually and in ensemble. The young tenor saxophonist (Potter turned 27 this year) turns in a dramatic set based on his own compositions. As Zan Stewart states in the liner notes, "... Potter stretches himself, his musicians and his audience, creating new and challenging music ..."Working out recently in the ensembles of trumpeter Dave Douglas, bassist Dave Holland and The Mingus Big Band, Potter continues to explore the modern mainstream. Joe Lovano joins the quartet on "This Will Be," and "Modeen's Mood," and replaces Rosenwinkel on "Long Walk, Short Pier." Potter overdubs bass clarinet on "Vertigo" and "Fishy," and piano on "Act III, Scene I."
Chis Potter plays tenor with a lush fluid tone, spontaneous creative ideas, and an openly emotional lyricism. Joe Lovano has a drier tone and is recorded on the right channel, so you can easily identify the two. Working together, Potter and Lovano converse with creative near-screeches, moans and wails, and solid empathetic, sonorous phrases. Rosenwinkel's guitar spots are creative, but in the mainstream idiom. His fresh approach remains lucid and articulate, never loud or harsh, and quite similar in character to the leader's. Colley supports the ensemble accurately, according to each composition's intent. From nonchalant walking stutter-steps to vocal-like spirals, the bassist infuses a fresh voice. Likewise, Drummond's crisp press rolls and varied drumhead textures produce welcome solo scenes. Potter changes the timbre on "Wake Up" with his soprano saxophone voice. Vertigo is atenoralbum with fresh ideas from an exciting artist. Highly recommended.
 
Track Listing:

01. Shiva
02. Vertigo
03. Long Walk, Short Pier
04. Act III, Scene I
05. Fishy
06. This Will Be
07. Almost Home
08. Modeen's Mood
09. Wake Up

  Total time (63:15).

Personnel:

Chris Potter, tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, piano
Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar
Scott Colley, bass
Billy Drummond, drums
Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone (tracks 3, 6, 8).

Steppenwolf - 1970 "Monster"

Monster is an album by Steppenwolf. Released in 1969, it was their first LP with new lead guitarist, Larry Byrom instead of Michael Monarch. The album was Steppenwolf's most political one, making references to important issues at the time, such as the Vietnam War.
The album was the first Steppenwolf album not to feature a US top ten hit, though two singles from the album cracked the top 40: "Move Over" and "Monster".

It is difficult some thirty years later to explain to younger listeners just how well this album articulated the sense of desperation and rage at the social system so prevalent among the sixties generation. Steppenwolf lead singer John Kay managed to provocatively employ the "Monster" analogy to perfection in explaining the terrifying existential dilemma the sixties generation found itself in, trapped by the injustice and stupidity of the military draft on one side, and the unknowing, uncaring, and patently dysfunctional material machinations of mainstream American culture on the other. All that said, this particular worldview informs one of the most outrageously brilliant song cycles in modern rock. Monster is a work of musical genius by John Kay, and is an under appreciated masterwork in that sense.
The singularity of the lyrics, arrangements, and musicianship of this smash best-selling album is apparent from the opening bars of the trilogy of Monster/Suicide/America. It is highly political, but at the same time really rocks. By the way, although the lyrics may seem a bit stylized and anachronistic now, any one who lived through those years recognizes the predominating perceptions behind it, as well as the conviction many of us had regarding the patent evil that surrounded us. Moreover, the indictment of materialism and its woes is strangely still quite accurate and relevant, a cautionary tale one can easily apply to the problems still confronting America, a country that often seems for sale to the highest bidder. That itself is amazing, given all the changes that have occurred. But for simply stunning rock music, it is hard to beat songs like "Draft Resister" (my personal favorite), "Move Over", and the Monster trilogy. Sit back, turn up the volume, and trip back with Steppenwolf to that super-charged political environment of the late sixties, and take your mind for a ride. Enjoy!

With “Monster” came a fresh burst of energy with the addition of Larry Byrom (who replaced Michael Monarch on lead guitar) and his “let’s get to it” attitude. In my opinion the monster album was a stronger effort than anything since the second album. However, time was once again our enemy which made it necessary that we recorded this project in an unusual fashion. The guys came up with one track after another while I was trying to keep up with my vocal parts and lyrics. Since this was supposed to be a concept album, I had to write within certain guidelines so that the lyrics fit within the concept. During the recording of this album and “7”, which was to follow, I spent most of my time at my studio sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning, working on the melodies and lyrics. I would join the guys at American Recorders where they continued to come up with new tracks, whenever I was ready to overdub my finished vocal parts on one of the previously recorded basic tracks. On “From Here To There Eventually” and “Power Play” I also played guitar on the basic tracks. The somewhat unusual method of recording notwithstanding I was nevertheless excited each time the guys brought me a newly recorded instrumental track, since Larry and the guys came up with one great musical idea after another. Consequently, we were all pleased with the results.

Here's the back cover, sorry I forgot to include it in the download:



Track listing

1.    "Monster" (John Kay, Jerry Edmonton)/"Suicide" (Kay, Nick St. Nicholas, Byrom, Edmonton)/"America" (Kay, Edmonton) – 9:15
 2.   "Draft Resister" (Kay, Goldie McJohn, Byrom) – 3:20
 3.   "Power Play" (Kay) – 5:26
 4.   "Move Over" (Kay, Mekler) – 2:53
 5.   "Fag" (Byrom, Edmonton, St. Nicholas) – 3:13
 6.   "What Would You Do (If I Did That to You)" (Francen, Porter) – 3:19
 7.   "From Here to There Eventually" (Kay, McJohn, Edmonton) – 5:27

Personnel

John Kay - Vocals
Goldy McJohn - Keyboard
Larry Byrom - Guitar
Jerry Edmonton - Drums
Nick St. Nicholas - Bass

Jeff Beck - 1980 "There and Back"

There & Back is the third studio solo album by guitarist Jeff Beck, released in June 1980 through Epic Records. The album reached No. 10 and 21 on the U.S. Billboard Jazz Albums and Billboard 200 charts respectively, and No. 36 on the Swedish albums chart. Notably, There & Back showcases Beck's stylistic shift towards instrumental rock while largely retaining the jazz fusion elements of his two previous releases, Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976). The opening track, "Star Cycle", was used for a number of years as the theme song for both Mid-South Wrestling in the United States and the British music programme The Tube (1982–87); "The Pump" was featured in the 1983 film Risky Business; "Too Much to Lose" is an instrumental cover of a song composed by keyboardist Jan Hammer that was originally featured on the Jan Hammer Group's 1977 album Melodies.

There and Back, Jeff Beck's first new studio album in four years, found him moving from old keyboard partner Jan Hammer (three tracks) to new one Tony Hymas (five), which turned out to be the difference between competition and support. Hence, the second side of this instrumental album is more engaging and less of a funk-fusion extravaganza than most of the first. If it were anybody else, you'd say that this was a transitional album, but this was the only studio album Beck released between 1976 and 1985, which makes it more like an unexpected Christmas letter from an old friend: "Everything's fine, still playing guitar."

The good news is that Jeff Beck is back with his first studio record since Wired in 1976. The bad news is that There and Back sounds dismally familiar. In the last few years, such avant-garde guitarists as Robert Fripp and James "Blood" Ulmer — not to mention New Wave upstarts like Public Image Ltd.'s Keith Levene and the Gang of Four's Andy Gill — have been busy plowing new rhythmic and harmonic ground. Instead of rising to their challenge, Beck has merely returned to the fusion cocoon he started spinning five years ago on Blow by Blow.
Worse, the star opens There and Back with three strikes against him, all of them the work of fuzak keyboardist Jan Hammer, with whom Beck cut a 1977 live album. "Star Cycle," "Too Much to Lose" and "You Never Know" are formulaic Hammer compositions: i.e., terminally predictable exercises in cosmic Mahavishnu-style virtuosity, lazy MOR fodder or neo-Funk-adelic jive. Throughout most of side one, Beck practically has to fight Hammer's solo-mad ego for playing room.

Tony Hymas takes over the ivories in the other five tunes, four of which he wrote with drummer Simon Phillips. Though Hymas doesn't add any new wrinkles to the LP's jazzrock fabric, at least he's a team player. Unfortunately, the Hymas-Phillips songs are as skeletal as Hammer's are overbearing.
Still, there are moments when Beck transcends his clichéd settings. "The Pump," a simple chord progression funked up by Mo Foster's hydraulic bass, allows the guitarist ample room to draw out long orchestral sustains. "El Becko" represents the other side of the coin: a tight, punk-chops showcase on the order of Truth's proto-heavy-metal raver, "Beck's Bolero."
Such flashes, however, are far too few. There and Back is a disappointingly static record from a consummate riffer whose specialty was always leading the pack. These days, Jeff Beck seems content to be a spectator, watching the parade go by.

Tracks Listing

1. Star Cycle (4:56)
2. Too Much To Lose (2:55)
3. You Never Know (4:03)
4. The Pump (5:43)
5. El Becko (3:59)
6. The Golden Road (4:55)
7. Space Boogie (5:04)
8. The Final Peace (3:36)

Line-up / Musicians


- Jeff Beck / guitars
- Jan Hammer / keyboards
- Simon Phillips / drums
- Tony- Hymnas / keyboards
- Mo Foster / bass

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ambrosia - 1978 [1999] "Ambrosia" (Japanese Import)


Ambrosia is the self-titled debut album by Ambrosia. It was released in 1975 on 20th Century Fox Records. It spawned the top 20 chart single "Holdin' On to Yesterday" as well as the minor hit "Nice, Nice, Very Nice". The latter sets to music the lyrics to a poem in Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle". The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording (other than Classical). Alan Parsons was the engineer for Ambrosia's first album and the producer for their second.

The group auditioned for Herb Alpert and A&M Records early on but the audition did not go well. Although it has been alleged by some sources that the band members showed up late and heavily intoxicated to the audition, all of the band members showed up on time and sober. In spite of their poor performance, Alpert let the band record some demos. Eventually they signed with Rubicon Management, which eventually landed the group a deal with 20th Century Fox Records.
The first album, Ambrosia, produced by Freddie Piro, was released in February 1975.  All four members of Ambrosia played on the first Alan Parsons Project album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, which was recorded soon after Ambrosia's first album. David Pack later appeared on the Alan Parsons album Try Anything Once (1993), co-writing, playing and providing vocals on three songs.

 Ambrosia is an American rock band formed in southern California in 1970. Ambrosia had five Top 40 hit singles between 1975 and 1980, including the Top 5 hits "How Much I Feel" and "Biggest Part of Me". Most of the original band members have been active with the group continuously for the past 25 years to the present day.
Ambrosia currently tours internationally and has worked in the past and present with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Alan Parsons, Bruce Hornsby, and most recently Michael McDonald, among other notable artists. In 2015 the group released a new single and plans to release an album of all-new material in 2016.

Los Angeles quartet Ambrosia, whose founding members included guitarist/vocalist David Pack, bassist/vocalist Joe Puerta, keyboardist Christopher North, and drummer Burleigh Drummond, fused symphonic art rock with a slickly produced pop sound. The group was discovered in 1971 by Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta, who featured Ambrosia as part of a so-called All-American Dream Concert. However, it took them four more years to get a record contract; Ambrosia was released in 1975 and spawned the chart singles "Holdin' on to Yesterday" and "Nice, Nice, Very Nice." (The latter was based on Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.) Ambrosia scored another hit in 1977 with a cover of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" from the film All This and World War II, which they also appeared in.
North left the group just before their biggest pop breakthrough in 1978 with the number three hit "How Much I Feel." Ambrosia followed this success in 1980 with another number three hit, "Biggest Part of Me," and the number 13 follow-up "You're the Only Woman." Their next album failed, ending their run of chart success, and the group broke up; individual members are still active as session musicians and vocalists, as well as producers. 

The most underrated progressive rock band of all time. Haven't stopped playing it since I got it.
Wish they'd get back together and record another album!
If all you know about Ambrosia are the pop ballads that got airplay, you DON'T know Ambrosia! 

Track listing

  1. "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" – 5:49 (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Christopher North, David Pack, Joe Puerta, Burleigh Drummond)
  2. "Time Waits for No One" - 5:01 (Drummond, North, Pack, Puerta)
  3. "Holdin' on to Yesterday" - 4:19 (Pack, Puerta)
  4. "World Leave Me Alone" - 3:17 (Pack)
  5. "Make Us All Aware" - 4:28 (Drummond, North, Pack, Puerta)
  6. "Lover Arrive" – 3:12 (Pack)
  7. "Mama Frog" – 6:06 (Drummond, North, Pack, Puerta)
  8. "Drink of Water" – 6:29 (Drummond, North, Pack, Puerta)

Personnel

Bill Connors - 1987 [1994] "Assembler"

Jazz fusion guitar fans will recognize Connors as that blazingly explosive and technically precise legato guitarist in Return to Forever who left after one release to pursue a quieter acoustic guitar path. Connors has always been ranked in the upper echelons of fine fusion axe-men. Yet the guitar releases from Connors have come slowly and been severely underappreciated. After leaving Return to Forever, Connors released three excellent acoustic albums in the '70s, did some work with Stanley Clarke on Clarke's solo releases, and played with the Jan Garbarek Group. Connors then returned to releasing hard-hitting yet elegantly soulful electric fusion guitar albums in the '80s. They comprised a shorter, LP -length format, offering sonic snippets of Connors' electric visions. Comparisons can easily be made between this release's guitar stylings and those of Allan Holdsworth. This is not surprising, as Holdsworth has always sought that horn sound and flow of John Coltrane, and Connors, too, idolizes Coltrane. Convergent evolution perhaps? Connors has more of a rocking and visceral, edgy attack than Holdsworth. His legato phrasing is totally different, as well as his guitar voicings. Connors also has a lean funky, syncopated groove going on in his compositions; he demonstrates he is a guitarists' guitarist with evident passion for his instrument. Assembler marked the final electrified release of this fusion CD offering of the '80s. Assembler saw an initial 1987 release and then this 1994 re-release on the Evidence label.

Originally released in 1987, "Assembler", by guitarist Bill Connors, is one of the most well-rounded and smoking fusion albums ever produced. The CD features a trio of musicians (Connors, drummer Kim Plainfield and bassist Tom Kennedy) who know what fusion is all about. Reviewer Bill Milkowski explains, ""Assembler" places Connors' flowing, passionate lines in the context of slippery, interactive funk grooves laid down by drummer Plainfield, a master of slick time displacement, and the accomplished 6-string electric bassist Tom Kennedy. The three reach a special accord on originals like the aptly-named "Crunchy", the slamming vamp "Get It To Go" and the soulful, slow moving funk vehicle, "Tell It To The Bass", delivering with hard-hitting rock intensity while navigating the challenging harmonic waters of Connors' compositions. Bill Connors is in rare and ripping form on "Assembler"

One of the most complete sounding fusion albums ever produced. Not well known, but a real jewel. Each musician on the album, there are 3 of them, plays their own melody line. So what you have are three melody line intertwined to make a beautiful sound. Some very high energy cuts "Seacoy" but also some very numbing mellow cuts that make this album one of the greatest "Road Trip" CD's out there.
Sit down, smoke one, and let your mind trace each melody line through the maze of the other instruments. then replay the CD and listen to a different melody line and how it effects the music.

I accidentally discovered Bill Connors while in a CD store back around 1987/88. What I thought, at first, was Allan Holdsworth I was hearing turned out to be Sea Coy. As a guitarist I was instantly hooked; the tone of his guitar and the pulse of the song. At the time I was in my late teens and I was discovering some of the great current Jazz/Fusion guitarists. I was already heavily into Al Di Meola, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse; Mike Stern and Pat Metheny but never heard of Bill Connors until that trip to the CD store. I remember just standing there listening to track after track until the album ended and they switched to a different artist. I went up to the counter and inquired about the guitarist that was playing and that's when the store clerk told me all about Bill Connors. I was hooked! I purchased Assembler and played it on my car CD payer! I looped the album and listened to it over and over... If you remember, the first CD players for cars sucked and they eye would start to bounce all over; especially if you hit a pothole or bump... I didn't care, I pushed through until I got home and could play it on my cheap home stereo. For me, this is one of those albums that transcend time! I enjoy listening to it today as much as I did back in 87/88! Sea Coy, Get it to Go are my 2 favorite Bill Connors songs to this day. The fantastic drumming of Kim Plainfield really lays the foundation for Connors; the compliment each other perfectly and Tom Kennedy's bass playing fits this power trio like a glove! If you are an advent Jazz/Fusion fan or a aspiring guitarist looking for someone to help hone your skills, you'd be a fool to look past Bill Connors; especially this album! 

Track listing:

1. Crunchy     03:29    
2. Sea Coy     05:39    
3. Get It To Go     05:10    
4. Assembler     05:07    
5. Add Eleven     06:12    
6. Tell It To The Boss     07:02    
7. It Be FM     05:39    

Personnel:

Bill Connors      -      Guitar, Production
Tom Kennedy      -      Electric Bass
Kim Plainfield      -      Drums

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 [1991] "Isle Of Wight"

Jimi Hendrix's August 8, 1970 set at the Isle of Wight festival in England resulted in two types of posthumous LPs in the 1970s: illegal bootlegs from various underground labels, and legal releases from Polydor. One of the legal releases that Polydor put out in England was Isle of Wight, a single LP that is consistently exciting but doesn't tell the whole story. Hendrix's performances of "Foxy Lady," "Lover Man," "Midnight Lightning," "All Along the Watchtower," "In from the Storm" and "Freedom" are excellent and made Isle of Wight well worth the price of admission when it first came out in 1971. But the LP is missing some of the other gems that Hendrix and colleagues Billy Cox (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums) performed at the festival, including "Red House," "Ezy Rider," "Machine Gun," "Power to Love" and "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)." In 1971, Polydor's British division should have made Isle of Wight a double-LP and released Hendrix's set in its entirety.

Recorded just weeks before his death, this is one of his very last concerts. Apparently there were all sorts of issues with the organisation of the festival, and there were equipment problems, the most obvious being them occasionally picking up the security's walkie talkies through the monitors. In some ways it's a bit of a disappointing finale to his career, he's seems a little tired or to be just going through the motions on much of this, maybe he was just getting tired of the band screaming out for Fire and Wild Thing, but at times the playing is as sublime as ever, and it's interesting to see how the band with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell continues to expand their style. Billy Cox makes the ensemble work much better than Noel Redding ever did, a fine example being where Hendrix sits out for some time on what is easily the longest of my 20 versions of Foxy Lady. The full set is available on the album "Blue Wild Angel: Live at The Isle of Wight" and I'm not sure why they didn't release a double album first time around. I don't think is necessarily even the best selection of songs from the gig so I'd recommend getting Blue Wild Angel instead. This isn't his finest performance, but they're all unique, so if you haven't heard it, and you're a Hendrixphile, you need to. 

Between August 26th and 30th 1970 half a million people gathered at East Afton Farm on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. It marked the return of Jimi Hendrix to the British stage for the first time in 18 months. What fans heard was the swan song of a genius and an era; 18 days later Jimi died in London.

Tracklist

1     Intro/God Save The Queen 3:00
2     Message To Love     6:26
3     Voodoo Chile     8:01
4     Lover Man     3:25
5     Machine Gun     12:37
6     Dolly Dagger     5:32
7     Red House     11:10
8     In From The Storm     4:20
9     New Rising Sun     7:31

Personnel:

    Bass – Billy Cox
    Drums – Mitch Mitchell
    Guitar, Vocals – Jimi Hendrix

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 [1988] "Isle Of Wight"

Isle of Wight was a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix, released in November 1971 by Polydor in the U.K. only. The album documents Hendrix's performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970, his last performance in England before his death in September. The album was engineered by Carlos Ohlms (a British based engineer). The record company did not use a picture from the Isle of Wight concert. The cover photo is from a live concert from Berlin, Deutschlandhalle, September 4, 1970. The album spent only two weeks in the U.K. albums chart, peaking at No. 17.
Isle of Wight contains just part of the concert, but this release has a unique mix compared to the Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight 2002 release). The entire performance was released on the 2002 album Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight.

 In August 1970 Jimi Hendrix was at the Isle of Wight festival along with another 600,000 people. His performance took place in the early hours of the morning of August 31. Less than a month later on September 18 Jimi Hendrix died.
The Hendrix set of 62 minutes has not been regarded as one of his best performances. Nevertheless it was good. Hendrix could play his guitar. His musical ability and phrasing was quite extraordinary. Amongst some of the favourites that he played were Machine Gun (where the security personnel’s radio was picked up through the amp), All Along the Watchtower and Red House. He was very much alive.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted.

1.     "Midnight Lightning"       7:21
2.     "Foxy Lady"       8:40
3.     "Lover Man"       3:18
4.     "Freedom"       4:21
5.     "All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan)     4:27
6.     "In from the Storm"       6:08

Personnel

    Jimi Hendrix – guitar, vocals
    Mitch Mitchell – drums
    Billy Cox – bass guitar

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Kirwan Brown Henrique de Almeida - 2004 "Deux"

Henrique De Almeida holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi. He is a graduate of The Berklee College of Music in Jazz Composition. Henrique is the owner and music director for the
Percussion Institute of Colorado (PIC.) He is the leader of his own group, The Brazilian Jazz Project. He is a Yamaha Drums, LP Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks, Paiste Cymbals, HQ Pads, and Evans drumheads Artist. A published author, and producer, he has educational materials available on Carl Fischer Publishing.

Deux album for sale by Kirwan Brown Henrique De Almeida was released Oct 11, 2005 on the CD Baby label. Henrique De Almeida holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi. Deux buy CD music He is a graduate of The Berklee College of Music in Jazz Composition. Deux songs Henrique is the owner and music director for the Percussion Institute of Colorado (PIC. Deux album for sale
) He is the leader of his own group, The Brazilian Jazz Project. Deux CD music He is a Yamaha Drums, LP Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks, Paiste Cymbals, HQ Pads, and Evans drumheads Artist. Deux buy CD music A published author, and producer, he has educational materials available on Carl Fischer Publishing. Deux songs
He has performed, toured, recorded and or worked with: Nat Adderley, Bill Cosby, Antonio Hart, Christopher Holiday, Donny McCaslin, Chris Speed, Igor Butman, Dave Valentin, Scotty Barnhart, Tiger Okoshy, Larry Coryell, Jeff Berlin, Stanton Moore, Billy Cobham, Nelson Rangel, Jeff Narell, Ira Sullivan, Victor Mendonza, Danilo Perez, Phil Wilson, Baron Brown, Matt Garrison, Bill Summers, Hilton Ruiz, Betty Carter, Willie Williams, Nando Lauria, Alceu Valenca, Gilberto Gill, Raul De Souza, Luiz Gonzaga, Hermeto Paschoal, Brian Lynch, Ronnie Matthews, David Williams, Luciana Souza, Katy Webster, and Oscar Kartaia among others. For more information, music, or educational materials by Henrique De Almeida visit: CarlFischerdrums henriquedealmeida myspace /henriquedealmeida percussioninstitue. 

Track listing:

01 Minute to Breath
02 One for Nico
03 Dark Vehicle
04 Brown Bag Improv
05 Civic Posse
06 Walkaway
07 Cafe 64
08 Jaco Beach - Olecumbe

Personnel:

Kirwan Brown - Bass
Henrique de Almeida - Drums


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Led Zeppelin - 2008 "Definitive Collection 40th Anniversary" Mini-LP Replica [12 CD Box]

The Definitive Collection of Mini-LP Replica CDs boxed set is a twelve compact disc collection of albums by English rock group Led Zeppelin, distributed by Atlantic Records in conjunction with Rhino Entertainment on 4 November 2008. It contains all nine of the original Led Zeppelin studio albums digitally remastered and compressed, with the inclusion of previously unreleased tracks that had surfaced on the 1990 Boxed Set, on disc 12, as well as the two disc remastered edition of the film soundtrack The Song Remains the Same, which also includes bonus tracks. The albums are placed in chronological order all with miniature replica sleeves of the original vinyl releases. Previous to this boxed set, these replica CDs were only available as individual releases from Japan. A Japanese deluxe boxed set was made available initially from 10 September 2008, limited to 5,000 copies on SHM-CD format.
The miniature replica sleeves have made all efforts possible to preserve the original artwork and functionality of the original vinyl releases. As such, the sleeves and CD labels only list what songs were originally released, omitting the bonus tracks from the packaging.

1969 Led Zeppelin I 


Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London and released on Atlantic Records on 12 January 1969 in the United States and 31 March in the United Kingdom. Featuring integral contributions from each of the group's four members, the album established their fusion of blues and rock. It also attracted a large and devoted following to the band; Zeppelin's take on the emerging heavy rock sound endeared them to parts of the counterculture on both sides of the Atlantic.
Although the album was not critically well-received when first released, it was commercially successful, and critics have come to view it in a much more favourable light. In 2003, Led Zeppelin was ranked 29th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, keeping that position when the list was updated in 2012. In 2004, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Tracks Listing

1. Good Times, Bad Times (2:46)
2. Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You (6:41)
3. You Shook Me (6:28)
4. Dazed And Confused (6:26)
5. Your Time Is Gonna Come (4:34)
6. Black Mountain Side (2:05)
7. Communication Breakdown (2:27)
8. I Can't Quit You Baby (4:42)
9. How Many More Times (8:28)

Total Time 44:37 

Line-up / Musicians
- Jimmy Page / acoustic, electric and pedal steel guitar, backing vocals
- Robert Plant / lead vocals, harmonica
- John Paul Jones / bass guitar, organ, backing vocals
- John Bonham / drums, tympani, backing vocals

Additional musician
- Viram Jasani / tabla drums (6)


1969 Led Zeppelin II


Led Zeppelin II is the second studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 22 October 1969 in the United States and on 31 October 1969 in the United Kingdom on Atlantic Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at several locations in the United Kingdom and North America from January to August 1969. Production was credited to lead guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Page, while it also served as Led Zeppelin's first album to utilise the recording techniques of engineer Eddie Kramer. With elements of blues and folk music, Led Zeppelin II also exhibits the band's evolving musical style of blues-derived material and their guitar and riff-based sound. It has been described as the band's heaviest album.
Upon release, Led Zeppelin II sold well and was the band's first album to reach number one in the UK and the US. In 1970, art director David Juniper was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for the album. On 15 November 1999, it was certified 12× Platinum by the RIAA for sales in excess of 12 million copies. Since its release, writers and music critics have regularly cited it in polls of the greatest and most influential rock albums.

Tracks Listing

1. Whole Lotta Love (5:34)
2. What Is And What Should Never Be (4:46)
3. The Lemon Song (6:18)
4. Thank You (4:47)
5. Heartbreaker (4:14)
6. Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman) (2:38)
7. Ramble On (4:24)
8. Moby Dick (4:21)
9. Bring It On Home (4:21)

Total Time: 41:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Jimmy Page / acoustic, electric & pedal steel guitar, backing vocals
- Robert Plant / vocals, harmonica
- John Paul Jones / bass guitar, organ, backing vocals
- John Bonham / drums, backing vocals

1970 Led Zeppelin III


 Led Zeppelin III is the third studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded between January and August 1970 and released on 5 October by Atlantic Records. Composed largely at a remote cottage in Wales known as Bron-Yr-Aur, this work represented a maturing of the band's music towards a greater emphasis on folk and acoustic sounds. This surprised many fans and critics, and upon its release the album received rather indifferent reviews.
Although it is not one of the highest sellers in Zeppelin's catalogue, Led Zeppelin III is now generally praised, and acknowledged as representing an important milestone in their history. Although acoustic songs are featured on its predecessors, it is this album which is widely acknowledged for showing that Led Zeppelin were more than just a conventional rock band and that they could branch out into wider musical territory.

Tracks Listing

1 Immigrant Song (2:23)
2 Friends (3:54)
3 Celebration Day (3:28)
4 Since I've Been Loving You (7:24)
5 Out On The Tiles (4:05)
6 Gallows Pole (4:56)
7 Tangerine (2:57)
8 That's The Way (5:37)
9 Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (4:16)
10 Hats Off To (Roy) Harper (3:42)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Bonham – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Paul Jones – bass guitar, Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer, mandolin, double bass in "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp", string arrangement
- Jimmy Page – acoustic, electric and pedal steel guitars, banjo, dulcimer, production, bass guitar on "That's the Way", backing vocals
- Robert Plant – lead vocals, harmonica

1971 Led Zeppelin IV

The untitled fourth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, was released on 8 November 1971 on Atlantic Records. Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, it was recorded between December 1970 and March 1971 at several locations, most prominently the Victorian house Headley Grange.
After the group's 1970 album Led Zeppelin III received lukewarm reviews from critics, Page decided their fourth album would officially be untitled. This, along with the inner sleeve's design featuring four symbols that represented each band member, led to the album being referred to variously as the Four Symbols logo, Four Symbols, The Fourth Album, Untitled, Runes, The Hermit, and ZoSo (which was derived from Page's symbol). In addition to lacking a title, the original cover featured no band name, as the group wished to be anonymous and to avoid easy pigeonholing by the press.
Led Zeppelin IV was a commercial and critical success, producing many of the band's best-known songs, including "Black Dog", "Rock and Roll", "Misty Mountain Hop", "Going to California", and the band's signature song, "Stairway to Heaven". The album is one of the best-selling albums worldwide at 37 million units, and with a 23-times platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America, it is the fourth-best-selling album in the United States. Writers and critics have regularly cited it on lists of rock's greatest albums.

Track listing:

01 - Black Dog (4:56)
02 - Rock And Roll (3:41)
03 - The Battle Of Evermore (5:52)
04 - Stairway To Heaven (8:02)
05 - Misty Mountain Hop (4:39)
06 - Four Sticks (4:45)
07 - Going To California (3:32)
08 - When The Levee Breaks (7:08)

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums
Sandy Denny - Vocals (3)

1973 Houses of the Holy


 Houses of the Holy is the fifth studio album by English rock band Led Zeppelin released by Atlantic Records on 28 March 1973. It is their first album composed of entirely original material, and represents a musical turning point for the band, who had begun to record songs with more layering and production techniques.
Containing some of the band's most famous songs, including "The Song Remains the Same", "The Rain Song", and "No Quarter", Houses of the Holy became a huge success, and was certified eleven times platinum by the RIAA in 1999. In 2012, it was ranked #148 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The title track was recorded for the album, but was delayed until the band's next release, Physical Graffiti, two years later.

Track listing:

1 The Song Remains The Same (5:30)    
2 The Rain Song (7:38)    
3 Over The Hills And Far Away (4:49)    
4 The Crunge (3:15)    
5 Dancing Days (3:41)    
6 D'yer Mak'er (4:21)    
7 No Quarter (6:59)    
8 The Ocean (4:31)

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums

1975 Physical Graffiti


 Physical Graffiti is the sixth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released as a double album on 24 February 1975. The band wrote and recorded eight new songs for the album at Headley Grange. These eight songs stretched the total time of the record beyond the typical length of a single LP, so the band decided to make Physical Graffiti a double album by including unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions: one outtake from Led Zeppelin III, three from Led Zeppelin IV, and three from Houses of the Holy, including the unused title track.
Physical Graffiti was commercially and critically successful; the album went 16x platinum in the US in 2006, signifying shipments of eight million copies, and was a number one album in both the US and UK.

Track listing:

01 Custard Pie     4:20
02 The Rover     5:54
03 In My Time Of Dying     11:08
04 Houses Of The Holy     4:01
05 Trampled Under Foot     5:38
06 Kashmir     9:41
07 In The Light     8:46
08 Bron-Yr-Aur     2:07
09 Down By The Seaside     5:15
10 Ten Years Gone     6:55
11 Night Flight     3:37
12 The Wanton Song     4:10
13 Boogie With Stu     3:45
14 Black Country Woman     4:30
15 Sick Again     4:40

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums

1976 Presence


Presence is the seventh studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released by Swan Song Records on 31 March 1976. The album was a commercial success, reaching the top of both the British and American album charts, and achieving a triple-platinum certification in the United States, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics and being the slowest-selling studio album by the band (other than the outtake album Coda).
It was written and recorded during a tumultuous time in the band's history, as singer Robert Plant was recuperating from serious injuries he had sustained the previous year in a car accident. Nevertheless, guitarist Jimmy Page describes Presence as the band's "most important" album, proving they would continue and succeed despite their turmoil.

Six of the seven songs on the album are Page and Plant compositions; the remaining song being credited to all four band members. This can be explained by the fact that the majority of the songs were formulated at Malibu, where Page (but not Bonham and Jones) had initially joined a recuperating Plant.  With Plant at less than full fitness, Page took responsibility for the album's completion, and his playing dominates the album's tracks.
Both Page and Plant had planned this album's recording session as a return to hard rock, much like their debut album, except at a new level of complexity. It marked a change in the Led Zeppelin sound towards more straightforward, guitar-based jams. Whereas their previous albums up to and including the previous year's Physical Graffiti contain electric hard rock anthems balanced with acoustic ballads and intricate arrangements, Presence was seen to include more simplified riffs, and is Led Zeppelin's only studio album that features no keyboards, and with the exception of a rhythm track on "Candy Store Rock", no acoustic guitar. The record stands in sharp contrast to their next studio album In Through the Out Door, which features keyboards on all tracks and pushes Page's guitar into the background on several songs (most notably on "Carouselambra", where Jones takes the lead on a synthesizer for most of the song, and Page is not truly heard until four minutes into the song).
The changed stylistic emphasis on this album was a direct result of the troubled circumstances experienced by the band around the time of its recording.
 Track listing:

1. "Achilles Last Stand"   10:30
2. "For Your Life"   6:21
3. "Royal Orleans"    2:59
4. "Nobody's Fault but Mine"       6:28
5. "Candy Store Rock"   4:08
6. "Hots On for Nowhere"  4:44
7. "Tea for One"   9:23

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums
 

 1976 The Song Remains the Same


 The Song Remains the Same is the live soundtrack album of the concert film of the same name by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. The album was originally released in October 1976, before being remastered and reissued in 2007.
The Song Remains the Same is not without its charm. This, more than any of their studio albums, captures both the grandiosity and entitlement that earned the band scorn among certain quarters of rock critics and punk rockers in the mid-'70s, which makes it a valuable historical document in an odd way, as the studio records are such magnificent constructions and the archival live albums so powerful. Plus, there is a certain sinister charm to the sheer spectacle chronicled on The Song Remains the Same, particularly in the greatly expanded 2007 reissue, which adds six previously unreleased tracks, helping pump up this already oversized album into something truly larger than life. At this stage, Zeppelin only seemed concerned with pleasing themselves, but they only did so because they could -- others tried to mimic them, but nobody could get the sheer size of their sound, which was different yet equally monstrous on-stage as it was on record. It wasn't as consistent on-stage as it was on record -- a half-hour "Dazed and Confused" may be the stuff of legend, but it's still a chore to get through -- but the very fact that Led Zeppelin could take things so far is part of their mystique, and nowhere is that penchant of excess better heard than on The Song Remains the Same.

Track listing:

CD 1
    Rock And Roll
    Celebration Day
    Black Dog (including Bring It On Home)*
    Over The Hills And Far Away*
    Misty Mountain Hop*
    Since I've Been Loving You*
    No Quarter
    The Song Remains the Same
    The Rain Song
    The Ocean*

CD 2
    Dazed And Confused
    Stairway To Heaven
    Moby Dick
    Heartbreaker*
    Whole Lotta Love

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums

1979 In Through The Out Door


In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, and their final album of entirely new material. It was recorded over a three-week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA's Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979. In Through the Out Door was the band's eighth and final studio release to reach the top of the charts in America, and was the last released by the band before the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.
The album is a reflection of the personal turmoil that the band members had been going through before and during its recording. For example, frontman Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son, Karac Plant, died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates. Despite this, the release wound up being a huge commercial success, particularly in the United States (sitting at the #1 slot on Billboard's chart in just its second week on the chart).

Track listing:

1. "In the Evening"    6:53
2. "South Bound Saurez"    4:13
3. "Fool in the Rain"   6:10
4. "Hot Dog"            3:18
5. "Carouselambra"      10:34
6. "All My Love"        5:53
7. "I'm Gonna Crawl"     5:29

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums

1982 Coda


Coda is the ninth and final studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in 1982. The album is a collection of unused tracks from various sessions during Led Zeppelin's twelve-year career. It was released two years after the group had officially disbanded following the death of drummer John Bonham. The word coda, meaning a passage that ends a musical piece following the main body, was therefore chosen as the title.
Coda is a unique album for us to review. Although it is listed officially as the ninth and final studio album by Led Zeppelin, it could just as well be listed as a quasi-compilation of unreleased tracks in the tradition of The Who’s Odds and Sods or Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes. Like those, this is a fine and entertaining album, and a must-have for any serious fan of the artist. But we internally debated whether it was proper to include Coda with our reviews from 1982. After all, it had been a full two years since the death of drummer John Bonham and the subsequent disbandment of Led Zeppelin as a cohesive group. Also, the most recent recordings on Coda were made four years prior to its November 1982 release, with the earliest recording stretching back to the late 1960s. The truth is, we simply could not overlook this album. After all, this IS Led Zeppelin and this band is likely to be the only one which Classic Rock Review covers every single studio album (I mean, we’ve already done Presence, what can we possibly exclude?)

The album spans the band’s entire career, from live performances just after their debut album to unused songs from In Through the Out Door sessions. However, it focuses mainly on the bookends of very early material and very recent material with very little representation from the band’s most popular “middle” years. This is most likely due to the fact that 1975’s Physical Graffiti included many unreleased songs from that era.

With such a chasm between the early and recent material, producer and lead guitarist Jimmy Page did a great job making it all sound cohesive. This included extensive, yet not overwhelming, post-production treatment of each track. According to Page, the album was released because there was so much bootleg stuff out following the disbandment. However, Coda was not a comprehensive collection in its original form. The 1982 LP contained eight tracks and ran at a mere 33 minutes in length. Eleven years later, four more tracks were added to CD versions of the album, tracks which were mysteriously excluded originally. Some have suggested it was really only released to fulfill a contract obligation to Atlantic Records.

Track listing:

01 We're Gonna Groove
02 Poor Tom
03 I Can't Quit You Baby
04 Walter's Walk
05 Ozone Baby
06 Darlene
07 Bonzo's Montreux
08 Wearing and Tearing
09 Baby Come On Home [Bonus Track]
10 Travelling Riverside Blues [Bonus Track]
11 White Summer,Black Mountain Side [Bonus Track]
12 Hey Hey What Can I Do [Bonus Track]

Personnel:

Jimmy Page - Guitars
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Paul Jones - Bass, Organ
John Bonham - Drums