Sunday, October 14, 2018

Electric Light Orchestra - 1976-03-16 - Flint, MI

Electric Light Orchestra
I.M.A. Auditorium, Flint, MI

Audience recording (JEMS Master), excellent quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's more from ELO, from a bit later in their career, early in 1976 on their Face the Music tour, and at what I would consider to be their best period. Coming off the success of El Dorado (and their first top ten hit, 'Can't Get it Out of My Head'), they released Face the Music in late 1975, which quickly resulted in two more hits ('Evil Woman' and 'Strange Magic') by the time of their tour. But more than that, Face the Music was a just a dynamite album, with a great mix between the classical, pop, and rock influences of the band. This was their first major tour as a headliner, and they made the most of it, with a great set of songs from all their albums up to that point. Opening with a powerhouse trio of songs from Face the Music ('Fire on High', 'Poker', and 'Nightrider'), they went through sections featuring songs from each of their previous albums. Thus, this was the last tour to feature many of their earlier songs, which would be replaced as more hits piled up, which is why this was my favorite period, as they still featured the old ELO, but also had the added aspect of their middle period songs and hits, bu just before they would become more and more pop singles and hit-oriented. Another highlight is that, unlike in the previous (1973) show, they play the full version of 'Roll Over Beethoven', with Beethoven's 5th intro (which to me is what really makes their version work - the way the screeching guitar lick comes blasting through the classical refrain). Great stuff, and this is a great recording (especially for an audience - thanks JEMS). I've also added as a bonus track (from the Detroit show), a cover of 'Let's Spend the Night Together' with the final part of 'The End' added, that they played at some of the earlier shows on the tour (but not the Flint show). It's an interesting and different (and lesser-known) addition to the show. Enjoy!  

01. Fire On High
02. Poker
03. Nightrider
04. Ocean Breakup/King Of The Universe
05. Bluebird Is Dead
06. Oh No Not Susan
07. New World Rising/Ocean Breakup Reprise
08. Hugh McDowell's Cello Solo W/Flight Of The Bumble Bee(cut)
09. Showdown
10. Eldorado Overture
11. Can't Get It Out Of My Head
12. Poor Boy(The Greenwood)
13. Illusions In G Major
14. Eldorado
15. Mik Kaminski's Violin Solo/Orange Blossom Special
16  Bev Bevan's Intro
17. Strange Magic
18. 10538 Overture
19. Do Ya
20. Evil Woman
21. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle
22. Roll Over Beethoven
Bonus Track (1976-03-04 - Detroit, MI)
23. Lets Spend the Night Together/The End

Band Members:
Jeff Lynne - Vocals, lead guitar
Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
Richard Tandy - keyboards, moog, mellotron
Kelly Groucutt - bass guitar, backing vocals
Mik Kaminski - violin
Hugh McDowell - cello
Melvyn Gale - cello

FLAC - Electric Light Orchestra_1976-03-16_Flint,MI(JEMS)_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Electric Light Orchestra_1976-03-16_Flint,MI(JEMS)_mp3.rar

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) - 1973-74 - London BBC Recordings

Electric Light Orchestra
1973-1974 - London BBC Recordings
1973-04-19 – Lower Cinema, London
1974-01-25 - Hippodrome, London

"Rockaria Ouverture"
FM Broadcast Recordings (from Italian Bootleg), very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 versions

OK, at last, here I am, back on the scene. And here I continue my featured look at Progressive Rock in the '70's and beyond. I had a few more European bands I wanted to feature before we moved back to Britain, but after that long break between posts, I wanted to come back with something strong (and more popular than more relatively obscure bands). So, here is the Electric Light Orchestra. Now, many may not consider ELO to be Prog at all, what with their string of decidedly pop-style hits of the Seventies and early eighties, but at the beginning, they were definitely a Progressive Rock band. ELO was formed in 1970 by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, and drummer Bev Bevan directly from their previous band, The Move, with Bill Hunt (keyboards) and Richard Tandy (bass) and a quartet of string players rounding out the group. In fact, due to contractual obligations, The Move (with Wood, Lynne, and Bevan all still involved) continued even after formation of ELO, and actually, The Move's last album, Message from the Country and ELO's first album, The Electric Light Orchestra were essentially recorded at the same time, and both were released in 1971. ELO was formed from Wood's concept of combining strings and a classical sound and style with hard-driving guitars and rock n roll. Jeff Lynne joined The Move in 1970 precisely because he was interested in pursuing that new musical direction and the creation of ELO. And those early ELO records are definitely 'progressive rock', with long meandering songs with extended instrumental sections and clashes between the classical and rock influences. However, Roy Wood did not stay long, and left during the recording sessions for the 2nd album, ELO 2, in 1972, taking keyboardist Hunt and a cello player with him, to form his next band, Wizzard. In ELO, Richard Tandy moved over to keyboards and Mike de Albuquerque (bass) and some new string players were added for their next album, and On the Third Day was released in late 1973. With Jeff Lynne now in full control of the band, the songs and style moved more towards Beatlesque pop-rock, but the strings and classical influences were also still evident. Although they had received some previous chart success, their next album, the elaborate concept album, Eldorado (subtitled: A Symphony by The Electric Light Orchestra) in 1974 would be their breakthrough. On this album, the small string section of the band was not enough and Lynne brought in a full orchestra for the full and lush arrangements needed for the album. The single 'Can't Get it Out of My Head' became their first top ten hit in the US, and the album also cracked the top 20. More success followed with Face the Music (1975), producing more hits and (one of my favorites) the sensational instrumental 'Fire on High'. Even greater success followed in subsequent albums, but less and less of the classical bravado was evident and more just great pop melodies continued, making them into the pop sensation they became, but not much left of their more progressive origins. Here is a show from their earlier days, one of the only high quality recordings from those early days. Unfortunately, no decent recordings exist from the Roy Wood days with the band. This is the next best thing, a pair of BBC radio shows in 1973 and early 1974, featuring songs primarily from their third album, On The Third Day, and definitely belonging in the category of Progressive Rock. Unfortunately, the version of 'Roll Over Beethoven' played here does not include the classical Beethoven's 5th Intro, but we'll get another shot at that next time (in the next post).        

01. From The Sun To The World
02. Kuiama
03. Roll Over Beethoven
04. Ma Ma Belle
05. King Of The Universe
06. Bluebird Is Dead
07. Oh No, Not Susan
08. New World Rising
09. In The Hall Of The Mountain King
10. Great Balls Of Fire

Tracks 1-3, 1973-04-19, Lower Cinema. London
Tracks 4-10, 1974-01-25, The Hippodrome, London

FLAC - ELO_1973-74_London BBC Recordings_FLAC.rar

mp3 - ELO_1973-74_London BBC Recordings_mp3.rar

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Still not back - try again later

Not back yet

Sorry about the lack of posts in recent weeks. I've just been very busy at work, under a lot of pressure and scrutiny, and have a series of projects with strict deadlines that must be met. So working all day and night recently. Still have 2 more projects to finish this week and next. Should be better after that. So, it'll still be a couple more weeks til things get back to normal, then I will have a break, and get back to the blog (and other things!). So... Sorry for now, but will be back, so...try again later. Thanks for your patience.   

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Focus - 1973-01-xx - BBC, Paris Theatre, London, UK (PRRP-027)

1973-01-xx (previously thought to be from 1973-12-12)
BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, UK
PRRP-027 - The Sky Will Fall Over London Tonight

Soundboard recording (Remastered), excellent quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Continuing with European progressive rock bands, Focus was a band from The Netherlands, formed in 1969 when guitarist Jan Akkerman joined keyboardist-flautist-vocalist Thijs van Leer's rock trio. They were the pit band for the Dutch production of the Musical Hair, and then released their first album, In and Out of Focus (1970), which received little attention. However, the band hit it big with their 2nd album, Moving Waves (1971), which contained what became the worldwide smash hit single, the surprisingly popular novelty rocker (rock yodeling?), 'Hocus Pocus'. Their unique sound and style, combining driving rock with jazz fusion and bits of classical music, captivated audiences and injected some fresh riffs and enthusiasm into the rock scene at the time. Their success continued with their subsequent albums, Focus 3 (1972) and Hamburger Concerto (1974), but their popularity faded after that, leading to the break-up of the band in 1978. Short-lived reunions featuring both Akkerman and van Leer occurred in 1985 and 1990, with a final performance with them both together in 1993. Van Leer also created several new versions of Focus, with other musicians and without Akkerman over many subsequent years, particularly from 2002 on, releasing several new albums as Focus. But their heyday was definitely in the early-mid-seventies, with Akkerman and van Leer together. Here is a show in great quality from those days when they were first becoming known and popular outside the Netherlands. This a remastered soundboard recording (part of the PRRP (Progressive Rock Remasters Project) from a BBC broadcast show in London (the exact date is unknown, but seems to be from sometime in January 1973 - although the show has been widely distributed as being from 1972-12-12 and the Old Grey Whistle Test show, that has now been shown to be incorrect, and the correct date is sometime after that, probably January 1973). Anyway, check it out.
01. Bob Harris Introduction    00:41
02. Anonymous Two    21:42
03. Band Introductions    01:19
04. Focus 1    03:58
05. Focus 3    03:23
06. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!    12:09
07. Focus 2    04:46
08. Bob Harris Once More    00:18
09. Hocus Pocus    07:22

Pierre Van Der Linden -    Drums
Thijs Van Leer - Keyboards, Flute & Vocals
Jan Akkerman - Guitar
Bert Ruiter - Bass Guitar

FLAC - Focus_1973-01_BBC_London_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Focus_1973-01_BBC_London_mp3.rar

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - 1975-11-23 - Tokyo, Japan

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
Shibuya Kokaido, Tokyo, Japan 

Soundboard recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's more from PFM, an Italian prog rock band that made a splash in the '70's, featuring melodic and instrumental richness, sumptuous compositions and arrangements. This show features the band just a little more than a year later than the previous post, and although they play many of the same songs, there is a fundamental difference in the band, as they had now added a new lead vocalist, Bernardo Lanzetti, which brought a more forceful and dynamic presence to their vocals from this point on, and was first featured on their album Chocolate Kings (1975).

1. Celebration
2. Four Holes In The Ground
3. Paper Charms
4. Dove...Quando...
5. Acoustic Guitar Solo
6. Out of Roundabout
7. Mr. 9 'Till 5
8. Alta Loma 5 'Till 9
9. Violin Solo
10. Bass Solo
11. Drum Solo
12. Impression Di Septembre
13. Celebration (reprise)
Bonus Track: 1975-11-29 - Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo (Audience)
14. Chocolate Kings

Flavio Premoli - keyboards, accordian, piccolo
Mauro Pagani - flute, violin
Franco Mussida - guitars
Patrick Djivas - bass
Franz Di Cioccio - drums, vocals
Bernardo Lanzetti - Lead vocals, guitar

FLAC - PFM_1975-11-23_Tokyo_FLAC.rar

mp3 - PFM_1975-11-23_Tokyo_mp3.rar

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - 1974-08-27 - Ultrasonic Studios, Hempstead, NY

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
Ultrasonic Studios, Hempstead, NY 

FM Broadcast recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 versions

Progressive rock has often been associated primarily with England and British bands (yes, virtually all of the most famous and successful prog bands are British), but actually there are great progressive rock bands from all over, especially throughout europe. One of the most interesting of the european progressive bands was Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) (translation:Award-winning Marconi Bakery), the most successful prog band from Italy. PFM was formed in 1970 in Milan, when members of the previous band I Queli joined up with violinist-flutist Mauro Pagani. They were the first Italian band to feature a synthesizer. Their first album (released only in Italy) was Storia di minuto (1972), which was an immediate success, quickly followed by Per un Amico (1972) which expanded their influence outside Italy and across europe. Around this time, while on tour in Italy, Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) heard them, and immediately signed them to their new label, Manticore records. Because of this connection, their next album, Photos of Ghosts (1973) was released worldwide (with mostly re-recorded versions of songs from their previous albums), and for the first time featured lyrics in English (in an attempt to reach a wider audience). Interestingly, instead of just translating their Italian lyrics to English, all new English lyrics were written, by King Crimson-ELP cohort Pete Sinfield. The album charted in countries all around the world, including the US. They followed this success with another Italian album (L'isola di niente) followed by an English version, The World Became the World (1974), and then their first U.S. tour. Concerts recorded from this tour became the basis for a Live album, Cook (1975).  The band also reached their largest US audience when they appeared on the TV show The Midnight Special in early 1975. For their next album, Chocolate Kings (1975), they added a new lead vocalist, Bernardo Lanzetti, and a harder rock sound. Jet Lag (1977) was their last album with English lyrics (as well as last album released in the U.S.) and moved more towards a jazz fusion sound. They continued performing and releasing albums in Italy for many more years, but never achieved International success after that. Because of their association with ELP, some (who never really listened to them) dismissed the band as Italian ELP imitators, but that does not do them or their music any justice. They had their own unique sound and were much more diverse in style and instrumentation. They were both uniquely Italian while developing traditional prog influences, producing a lyrical, romantic and delicate music, with a great melodic and instrumental richness, sumptuous compositions and arrangements. They deserve a place among the  very best of the '70's prog bands. Here is a show from their 1974 U.S. tour, as they established themselves as a progressive force to be reckoned with.

1. Four Holes In The Ground (7:41)
2. Is My Face On Straight? (7:53)
3. Instrumental jam (8:58)
4. Dove...Quando... (4:39)
5. introduction (1:32)
6. Mr. 9 'Till 5 (4:25)
7. Alta Loma 5 'Till 9 (11:06)
8. JC violin jam (2:30) (cut - some issues)
9. classic violin solo (3:25)
10. William Tell Overture (1:51)
11. Celebration (5:34)

Flavio Premoli - keyboards, vocals
Mauro Pagani - flute, violin, vocals
Franco Mussida - guitars, vocals
Patrick Djivas - bass
Franz Di Cioccio - drums, vocals

FLAC - PFM_1974-08-27_Ultrasonic_NY_FLAC.rar

mp3 - PFM_1974-08-27_Ultrasonic_NY_mp3.rar

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nektar - 1977-10-18 - Hofstra University, New York, NY

Hofstra University, New York, NY

FM broadcast (WLIR) recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's more from Nektar, from a couple years later, on their tour promoting their current album, Magic is a Child (1977). However, this was after founding member, guitarist, and lead vocalist, Roye Albrighton, had left the band, and was replaced by Dave Nelson. Because of this, Nektar purists tend to look down on this album and period for the band. This was their first release for Polydor, and it did have a somewhat more slick production, and perhaps a bit more mainstream rock sound (even with bits of power pop thrown in), but still with plenty of progressiveness and eclectic charms, resulting in what I think is just a great rock album. Personally, I think it is one of Nektar's very best, my favorite of theirs, and one of the best of that era. Yes, the sound is a bit different, especially with Nelson instead of Albrighton as lead vocalist, but it is a wonderful album, nonetheless. Naysayers should give it another chance (with open ears). Anyway, So, I was thrilled to find this FM broadcast recording of a show from this tour, featuring many of the songs from Magic is a Child, including 'Spread Your Wings', which is just an all-time great straight-up Rocker. Good sound on this recording, although it seems to run a bit fast (either that or they just played these songs very fast in concert), as they all are faster here than on record. Anyway, great show. Unfortunately, this "new" version of Nektar didn't catch on, and the band split-up in 1978, but with original members Freeman and Albrighton re-forming another "new" version of the band (with new bass and drums) in 1979, although that incarnation was short-lived as well. But then, much later, in 2000, as seems to happen with these progressive rock bands from the Seventies, Freeman and Albrighton re-formed the band yet again, (now with Ray Hardwick on drums), and eventually with Moore returning on bass and Larry Fast also joining in on some subsequent albums and tours. Later, Ron Howden also returned (on drums), and the band continued (with various lineup changes, Albrighton being the only constant throughout) over the next several years, right up until Albrighton's death in 2016. So, Nektar did live on for many years after their '70's heyday. Check out the 1977 version of the band here.

01. Midnight Lite
02. Train From Nowhere
03. Remember The Future Part 2
04. Remember The Future Part 2 (continued)
05. Away From Asgard
06. King Of Twilight
07. Magic Is A Child
08. Recycled
09. Eerie Lackawanna
10. Oh Willy / Mr. H.
11. On The Run
12. Spread Your Wings

Allan "Taff" Freeman - Keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals
Derek "Mo" Moore - Bass, backing vocals
Ron Howden - Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Dave Nelson - Guitars, lead vocals
Mick Brockett - Special effects

FLAC - Nektar_1977-10-18_New York_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Nektar_1977-10-18_New York_mp3.rar