Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Eric Clapton - 2011-12-31 - Woking Leisure Center, Woking, Surrey, UK

Eric Clapton

2011-12-31
Woking Leisure Centre, Woking, Surrey, UK
'Half Measures' (MVR 701/702)
Audience Recording (Mid Valley Records), Good sound quality
Available in Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Happy New Year (and hope for a better one) for All! For this year's New Year's Eve show, we go back to Eric Clapton's string of 'Sober Dance Party' NYE shows in Woking UK. The New Year's Eve Sober Dance was an alcohol-free party and was hosted by Eric Clapton and Friends almost every year from 1992 to 2012. It was a private event and tickets were not put on sale to the general public. Each year, the band billed themselves under an unusual name. This year I am presenting the penultimate show, from 2011, where the band was billed as 'Half Measures' and consisted of Eric's usual band at that time, plus the addition of Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), who frequently joined in for Eric's regular NYE shows. The show features an emphasis on the blues and early RnR and is a wonderful presentation of Eric's band at this time. The 2012 NYE was the last of these events, however, but I have not been able to find any recording of that show, so here is the penultimate sober NYE show from Eric in 2011. 

Disc 1 (MVR 701) Half Measures
01-Introduction
02-Knock On Wood
03-Reconsider Baby
04-Unchain My Heart
05-Hey Bo Diddley
06-Travelin' Light
07-Route 66 (False start)
08-Route 66
09-Cryin' Time Again
10-Rock me Baby
11-Willie And The Hand Jive
12-Shake Rattle And Roll

Disc 2 (MVR 702) Half Measures
01-New Year Countdown
02-In The Midnight Hour
03-Hoochie Coochie man
04-Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
05-Blueberry Hill
06-Lay My Burden Down
07-Gin House
08-Five Long Years
09-Whiter Shade Of Pale
10-Cocaine
11-Old Black Joe

Band:
Eric Clapton - Guitar And Vocals
Chris Stainton - Keyboards
Dave Bronze - Bass
Andy Fairweather Low - Guitar And Vocals
Gary Brooker - Keyboard And Vocals
Henry Spinetti - Drums
Judy Blair - Vocals

mp3 - Eric Clapton_2011-12-31_NYE_WokingUK_mp3.rar

FLAC - Eric Clapton_2011-12-31_NYE_WokingUK_FLAC.rar

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Christmas Show - 2019-12-09 - Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles, CA

The Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Christmas Show

2019-12-09 (Early Show)
Live at Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles, CA
Audience recording, good quality
Mp3 @ 320 kbps

While the Christmas spirit is still with us, here's another Christmas-themed show. A recent entry in the series of Aimee Mann Christmas shows. This one is from last Christmas (2019), when live shows and Christmas events like these were still possible. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo got together several years ago to from the rock duo The Both, and although the collaboration produced only one studio album (The Both-2014, which was very good), Mann and Leo have been performing together on and off since then, such as in her 2014 and 2015 Christmas shows, and again last year for her 2019 shows. As usual, this is a musical-variety show that mixes music (holiday and otherwise) with some banter, skits, and comedy bits, and feature several other guest artists in addition to Aimee and Ted. Guest artists at this year's show included Lisa Loeb, Paul Tompkins, and Josh Ritter, as well as some other surprises. Enjoy the Holidays with Aimee and Ted. Merry Christmas One and All.

Tracklist:
Track 101. Christmas in Killarney 2:23
Track 102. Fairytale of New York 4:09
Track 103. introduction of Paul F Tompkins 2:11
Track 104. Christmas Eve Can Kill You 3:30
Track 105. banter 1:52
Track 106. Teddy Knows, Teddy Knows, Teddy Knows 2:08
Track 107. introduction of Lisa Loeb 4:35
Track 108. Skeleton 3:29
Track 109. I’ll Be Home for Christmas 3:41
Track 110. The Ballad of the Christmas Donkey 3:53
Track 111. Santa’s Letters 16:13
Track 112. Ten Things 2:49
Track 113. Nothing Left to Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue) 5:16
57 mins
Track 201. Mulan 9:06
Track 202. Oh Lord (Part 3) 4:20
Track 203. The Curse 6:18
Track 204. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve 3:35
Track 205. Light 4:50
Track 206. Stay (I Missed You) 3:54
Track 207. The Holly Bears a Berry (Sans Day Carol) 3:27
Track 208. Lesser Known Hanukkah Traditions 7:06
Track 209. banter 1:54
Track 210. You’re a Mean One Mr Grinch 3:44
Track 211. banter 3:38
Track 212. Know It All 2:58
Track 213. Christmas Time Is Here 3:16
58 mins

Note: “Teddy Knows! Teddy Knows! Teddy Knows!” and “Know It All” are parodies of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and Lizzo’s “Good as Hell,” respectively. The tracks named “Santa’s Letters,” “Mulan,” and “Lesser Known Hanukkah Traditions” are comedy segments and do not contain any music.

Lineup:
Aimee Mann - vocals, guitar
Ted Leo - vocals, guitar
Paul Bryan - bass
Jamie Edwards - keyboards, guitar on “The Holly Bears a Berry”
Matt Mayhall - drums, percussion, bells on “The Holly Bears a Berry”

with announced guests:
Paul F Tompkins - vocals
Lisa Loeb - vocals, guitar
Josh Ritter - vocals, guitar
and surprise guests:
Julia Sweeney
The Sklar Brothers (Randy and Jason)

Aimee Mann&Ted Leo Christmas Show_2019-12-01_L.A.rar

Saturday, December 12, 2020

BB Chronicles 2020 Christmas Collection - A Coping with Covid Christmas

BB Chronicles 2020 Christmas Collection - 
A Coping with Covid Christmas
 
A Christmas Sampler Collection
Various Artists

Mp3 @ (mostly) 320 kbps (but some 192kbps)

Well here are we are, at the end of another year, and what a (terrible) year it has been. But at Christmastime, we can try to put all that behind us and try to enjoy the Holidays as best we can, although under the present circumstances, it may be a very different holiday season than usual, or that we would want. Due to the raging global pandemic and social distancing requirements, most of us are having to scale our holiday festivities way back, with little socializing or spending time with family and friends. But we sttill have the music of the season, and once again, as is my every other year tradition, I have put together a Christmas holiday collection of seasonal music. Although I did not expect to be able to do it this year, I hunkered down and explored my treasure chest of holiday gems and came up with a another wonderfully delightful assemblage (if I do say so myself) of rather fine contemporary Christmas-related music from an assortment of great and little-known artists. Due to the current situation and atmosphere, this year's collection features numerous songs that capture the distance, isolation, or stay-at-homeness of this season, but also features numerous bright and cheery songs to lift the spirits. Once again, my collections tend to feature newer, more original songs, with just a few old standards thrown in. This year also marks 10 years since my first of these collections and my 6th overall compilation (because only done in even years). So, to honor that first 'Echlechtic Chollection', there are a couple of throwbacks to that set, including the studio version of Dave Edmunds' 'Run Rudolph Run' (the first collection used a live recording), and the wonderful 'Christmas Face' by Fisher, which not only is a perfect song for this particular collection in mood and spirit, but also is just a truly beautiful song that deserves more exposure and notoriety (I have never heard another artist cover this song, but it should have become a Christmas standard by now). Also, once again, I have liberally lifted some tracks from other recent Christmas compilations (such as White Christmas-2019 from Power Pop Criminals blog as well as some samplers from Noisetrade, etc.). Also featured are a couple more tracks from The Grip Weeds excellent Christmas album (Under the Influence of Christmas-2011), and other power pop gems, several indie artists you've surely never heard of (but are quite wonderful), as well as some familiar old pros with a mix of old and new classics. Closing out the collection is a beautiful, insprational 'Christmas is Here' from JJ Heller. Hope you enjoy this year's collection. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All.

 
Tracklist: Song Title - Artist (Year - Album)
01. For The Holidays - The Grip Weeds (2011 - Under The Influence of Christmas)
02. Talkin' Christmas - The Blind Boys of Alabama (2014 - Talkin' Christmas)
03. Have a Very Merry Christmas - The Sun Kings (2015 - Jingle Jangle Pop)
04. Holly Herald - Jethro Tull (2003 - Christmas Album)
05. Underneath the Christmas Tree - The New Favorites (2017 - Happy Holidays)
06. Christmas is All Around - Sleeping At Last (2014 - Christmas Collection)
07. It's Christmas - Ben Woodward (2014 - HGTV+Noisetrade Ultimate Holiday Soundtrack)
08. Christmas Face - Fisher (2012 - December)
09. Christmas Time is Here - Jerry Douglas (2009 - Jerry Christmas)
10. Happy Xmas - Alanis Morissette (2020 - Single)
11. Christmas in the Room - Sufjan Stevens (2012 - Silver and Gold)
12. Last-Minute Christmas Song - Sun Machines (2018 - Single)
13. Holiday at Home - Abigail York (2014 - HGTV+Noisetrade Ultimate Holiday Soundtrack)
14. Winter Eclipse - Beta Radio (2014 - HGTV+Noisetrade Ultimate Holiday Soundtrack)
15. All I Want for Christmas is You - The 88 (2010 - Single)
16. Blue Christmas - Chris Isaak (2004 - Christmas)
17. Christmas Time - Christopher Holland (2019 - Golden Hour)
18. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Kenny Rankin (1999 - A Christmas Album)
19. Run Rudolph Run - Dave Edmunds (1982 - Party Party)
20. Winter Wonderland - David Grisman - (1983 - David Grisman's Acoustic Christmas)
21. Christmas Night - Dwight Twilley (2005 - Have a Twilley Christmas)
22. Welcome Christmas - The Grip Weeds (2011 - Under The Influence of Christmas)
23. Carol of the Bells - The Last Bison (2013 - Sleigh Ride)
24. Christmas is Here - JJ Heller (2016 - Unto Us)

BB Chronicles 2020 Christmas Collection


Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas Season is Here Once Again - Past Christmas Posts

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Christmas Season is upon us once again. I will have a new Christmas Collection for 2020 uploaded shortly to brighten up the holidays during these trying and difficult times. And also be sure to check out all of my previous Christmas-related collections and posts! There are plenty of Christmas, Winter, Holiday-related posts and downloads available here. So, if you haven't previously checked out my delightful and eclectic Christmas collections, I invite you to do so now (links to those pages below). In addition, there are several other Christmas-related shows and compilations that have been posted previously and I have re-uploaded all of them to be available again for this year. To see all the Christmas-related posts check here. As I've said before, personally, I love Christmas music of all types, classical, rock, pop, jazz, etc., from the traditional to the outrageous, the serious to the silly, the classics to the newest ditties, and these compilations contain some of my favorites. Enjoy the season while it lasts. 

BB Chronicles 2020 Christmas Collection

BB's Christmas Collection 2018 - New, Old, and Revived


BB's Chronicles Christmas Collections 2016 (featuring 2 full collections - Bright and Blue)


BB's Christmas Chronicle 2014 - Tiny Tree Christmas


BB Chronicles Holiday Sampler 2012 - No Rest for Ye Merry Gentlemen


BB Chronicles Echlectic Christmas Chollection 2010


Other Christmas posts:

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Shows: 2014 - Boston ; 2015 - Boston

A Celtic Christmas Sojourn - 2015-12-20 - Boston, MA

Nick Lowe's Quality Holiday Revue (featuring Los Straitjackets - 2015-12-10 - Los Angeles, CA

Bruce Springsteen Live Christmas compilations

Chicago - 1998 Christmas show

Bill Kirchen's Honky Tonk Holiday Party - 2010 - Northampton, MA 

All links recently updated! Enjoy!.


Friday, November 27, 2020

The Wonder of Music - some musical musings

The Wonder of Music

 

As you should be able to tell from this blog, I love music. I think it is the single greatest entity that exists in the world. Nothing else comes close. Music can convey so much emotion and meaning and have such immense personal significance. It can transport you to another time and place, instantly bring back by-gone memories to be relived, lift you up spiritually and emotionally, bring immense joy and satisfaction, or delve into your inner soul with sadness, contemplation, or introspection. Now, I like all kinds of different music from many different genres and styles. However, I don’t necessarily like all specific pieces of music or musicians. Like everyone else, I have my own tastes and preferences for what I want to listen to and what music I personally get the most out of. We all have our own sense of aesthetics for what pleases us and what does not. Certainly, there are some stuff that I just cannot even stand to listen to. But that doesn’t mean that the music I do not care for has no value or is not ‘good’. Some I can honestly admit is great music, but it just may not be something that I want to listen to. For others, it may be difficult to see what value it has, but I know that it does have value, because it brings enjoyment to other people. All the music and musicians I feature on this blog are all music I really like, but there are lots of other great bands and musicians that I just do not personally care for or have any interest in, that will never take a place within my heart or within this blog. But you will also never hear me say that a particular band, musician, or album ‘sucks’, or is just absolutely terrible, as that just doesn’t apply. Music is a very personal thing and we all have very different tastes and preferences, and very different sounds and styles that appeal to us or does not.  There are many different reasons why we might like or not like a particular artist, or even a song from an artist that we usually do like. Sometimes music just hits us in a certain way, and even we can’t really identify what it is that is so appealing or repelling about it. Other times it may be very clear what we like about a certain song, due to its style, melodies, lyrics, arrangement, performance, or feel. We all have our favorite artists with plenty of reasons why they are the ‘best’ and others are just not as good, but those characteristics vary widely from person to person. Overall, every piece of music has value as long someone gets something out of it, if it moves someone or makes them feel something real. I may hate some (many) pop song(s) I hear on the radio, but there may be legions of fans that totally adore it, and get much enjoyment from it, and that is great for them. The very things that I may hate about the song may be precisely what others love about it, so enjoy it, groove to it, whatever works for you.

One thing that is very interesting to me is that even within a specific type of music or a specific artist, there is a vast range of tastes and preferences. Lately I have been watching a lot of the various album ‘ranking’ videos on Youtube, where they rank all the albums of a particular artist from ‘worst to best’, and it is quite amazing how different the preferences can be even among diehard fans of the same band. Of course, the classic example is The Beatles, as their albums were all great, but varied widely in style and sound over the years. And virtually every album can be found to be someone’s ‘favorite’ of all time. Some prefer the early stuff, others the later songs. Some adore the psychedelic stuff, others the love songs, more acoustic, or more rock n roll, the studio effects, or stripped-down sounds. We all have our preferences. With some other bands that released a range of albums actually considered to be really bad to really good, there may be more of a general consensus, but still usually even those considered awful by some fans will be the favorite of others. It is really very interesting to see and hear the varying opinions, even when I vigorously disagree or cannot figure out how they could possibly feel that way. But its all good, as long as we still respect each other’s tastes and opinions, as that is how they hear the music, and for them that is what is real, valuable, and meaningful. And that can’t be taken away. If a song makes you feel good, that’s real, and it doesn’t matter if someone else doesn’t agree. It’s always most interesting when people actually explain what it is that they particularly like or dislike about a song or album, rather than just saying it’s great or dismissing it as garbage. What I don’t like is when people declare their opinions as definitive, or try to tell you that what you like is crap, and that you need to like this instead. And unfortunately, you see that all the time on the internet, social media, etc., people trying to tell others they are wrong about how they feel about the music they like or dislike. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to what others have to say about their favorite music, as you may find out things that can expand your musical horizons and appreciate some music you hadn’t in the past. A good review, whether from professional critics or just regular folks, should be able to give you a good idea of whether or not that piece of music is something you might be interested in or not, regardless of whether the review was positive or negative, it should help determine whether it is something you should maybe check out for yourself.  

OK, so what am I getting at here? As Paul Simon so eloquently sang in ‘Train in the Distance’ (Hearts and Bones, 1983), “What is the point of this story? What information pertains? The thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains.” And, you know, that’s just what music does, it undoubtedly makes our lives better, whatever your situation is, if even for just a short time. And certainly now during these very trying times of isolation and quarantines, music can be even more important. I don’t know of anything else that can lift your spirits or provide such happiness and joy as quickly or readily as your favorite music, whatever it may be. And that’s true even if the music you listen to is sad or depressing, even that provides a release or solidarity to your feelings, providing a safe haven for your feelings or anxieties, and knowledge that others are going through or have gone through the same things as you. So, whether you thrive on country, pop, rock, folk, classical, jazz, blues, hip-hop, rap, or their various combinations, or more esoteric sub-genres (neo-progressive hyper-stylized power speed metal?), there is great music out there for you. And finding others out there who enjoy the same type of music, and who you can share other new bands and music with to increase your enjoyment, is a wonderful thing. So, enjoy the music you love, fully and completely, regardless of what anyone else says. But it is also great to keep your mind open to new sounds and styles of music as well, as you may find there is so much more out there to enjoy beyond what you already know and love.

 

Note: BTW, I may try some of those 'ranking' type columns here in the not-distant future, just for fun and to get my personal picks out there, and hopefully, start some discussion (Probably starting with, who else, The Beatles).

 

 

Friday, November 13, 2020

BB's Prog-Ends 1 - Progressive Rock Sampler Compilation: Ends, Odds, and Excerpts - Negelcted and Nearly Forgotten '70's Prog

BB's Prog Ends 1
A Progressive Rock Compilation
Mp3 @ 320 kbps
 
 OK, I’ve got something a bit different today. Rather than a post of unofficial live recordings, here’s an exclusive BB Chronicles Sampler Compilation album for you. A couple years ago when I did an extended feature on progressive rock, there was a whole lot of stuff I just wasn’t able to get to, as well as many bands that there just wasn’t any available unofficial content to post. So, this sampler goes back to that classic period of progressive rock in the ‘70’s and features some great tracks from some lesser-known, sadly neglected, or nearly forgotten progressive bands from that time, and, significantly, this particular compilation (possibly first in a series?) focuses primarily (with a couple exceptions) on bands from North America (U.S. and Canada) rather than the usual progressive emphasis on UK and Europe. For those interested in 70’s progressive rock, hopefully this sampler will introduce you to some different bands and music that you may not have been aware of and you can further check out on your own, or just to enjoy as a variety of different aspects of the progressive rock scene at that time. Just keep in mind that this compilation does not include any of the most popular and familiar prog bands, nor even any of the others that I have featured in previous posts, but focuses on these neglected, underrated, or somewhat passed over bands. Now, in order to keep this sampler to a manageable size (~CD-length, <80 min) and be able to feature numerous different bands, I edited down (excerpted) some of the longer tracks to give a decent representation of the music, but cut for time (sorry, but this is just a sampler). Now, I know that there are tracks on here that some will say “Hey, that’s NOT Prog!” because that’s just what they say to anything that doesn’t conform to their narrow definition. But rest assured, these are indeed all within the realm of progressive rock (or at least were at the time), as they do bring in various other influences and expand the boundaries of rock beyond the standard style and structure. So, Here goes, hope you enjoy it.

Prog-Ends 1
Tracklist: Artist – Song Title (Year – Album)
1. Ray Manzarek – He Can’t Come Today (1974 – The Golden Scarab: A Rhythm Myth)
2. Synergy – Relay Breakdown (1975 – Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra)
3. FM – One O’Clock Tomorrow (1977 – Black Noise)
4. Capability Brown – Circumstances (In Love, Past Present Future Meet) – excerpt (1973 – Voice)
5. Cathedral – Gong (1978 – Stained Glass Stories)
6. Happy The Man (1977 – Happy The Man)
7. Starcastle – Forces (1976 – Starcastle)
8. Harmonium РVert (1975 РSi On Avait Besoin d'une Cinqui̬me Saison)
9. Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – The Ikon – excerpt (1974 – Todd Rundgren’s Utopia)
10. Yezda Urfa – Boris and His 3 Verses, including Flow Guides Aren’t My Bag - excerpt (1975 – Boris)
11. Happy The Man – Service With A Smile (1978 – Crafty Hands)
12. Seventh Wave – Festival Suite (Festival-Ever So Lightly-Communication Skyways-Things To Come-1999-Dance of the Eloi) – excerpt (1974 – Things To Come

Solidfiles link - ProgEnds1 Sampler Compilation.rar

Alternate link (Mega) - ProgEnds1_Sampler Compilation.rar

Notes:
I kick things off with Ray Manzarek (former keyboards-composer, The Doors). Now, Ray is certainly not someone you think of as progressive rock, but in 1974, after the demise of the Morrison-less Doors, for his first solo album, Ray went all out and released a fantastic concept album, which builds upon the blues-rock basis of the music of The Doors by exploring all kinds of riffs, rhythms, and musical styles from all over the world, as well as being steeped in various mystical and philosophical musings. Titled The Golden Scarab: A Rhythm Myth, presented here is the opening track, ‘He Can’t Come Today’, a breezy, percussion-laden existential ditty featuring what is undoubtedly the ‘World’s Greatest Cowbell Solo’ from percussionist Steve Forman (starting at ~2:35). Absolutely stunning. 

Next up is Synergy, the creation of synthesizer wizard Larry Fast, with ‘Relay Breakdown’ from the first Synergy album Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra (1975), which was a pioneering all-synthesizer rock album. An innovative and progressive breakthrough in synthesizer technology, performance, and arrangement, it created a whole new soundscape for experimentation. Larry also worked with Nektar, Peter Gabriel, Yes, and many others, but Synergy (released 9 albums between 1975 and 1987) was his crowning achievement.

FM, a trio from Toronto, Canada, made a splash with their first album, Black Noise (1977), an eclectic mix of melodic, electronic space-rock, featuring synths-vocals, violin, and drums, a great debut. Unfortunately, they could not sustain that level, and although they stuck around for several years (into the ‘80’s), their subsequent albums never quite matched their first (ranked among the Top 50 progressive Rock albums, at #49, by Rolling Stone magazine). Here is ‘One O’Clock Tomorrow’.

Capability Brown was a short-lived UK band (not from North America – oops, but they otherwise very much fit here) featuring strong multi-part harmony vocals and dynamic instrumental passages. Their first album (From Scratch, 1972) was a straight-forward pop-rock album, but their second album (Voice-1973) put them forever on the progressive rock map, mainly due to their epic 20 min, side-long masterpiece, ‘Circumstances’, which is excerpted here. For this compilation I have taken the opening section (to about 2:30), a Floyd-esque instrumental, but then cut to the final 6 minutes of the track, which features reprises of some of the previous sections, in order to give a sense of the feel of the song, but the full track is a masterful creation, and still stands today as a monumental Prog track. But not long after this album came out, the band was no more, and that was it.


Cathedral, from Long Island, NY, was another short-lived prog band (1975-1978) that never quite made it. Their one album, Stained Glass Stories (1978) was recorded and released by a small independent NY label and they were not able to go any further than that. But the album itself demonstrated their legit Prog props and chops, and slowly gained acclaim among the few who actually heard it. Eventually, renewed interest lead to a re-release by US progressive label Syn-Phonic in 1990, which eventually lead to a reunion in 2003. Presented here is ‘Gong’, a nice representation of the strength of the album. 

Happy The Man, an excellent American (from Virginia, 1972-1979) prog band, blended lush melodies, complex interplay, a jazzy touch, and only occasional vocals, for a diverse, unique, and magical sound. Although they only released 2 albums before their demise, Happy the Man (1977) and Crafty Hands (1978), those albums are gems (and there were multiple subsequent album releases consisting of previously unreleased tracks, as well as earlier material from their pre-record label days). Included here are 2 shorter tracks, one from each of the first 2 albums, ‘Hidden Moods’ and ‘Service with a Smile’, each showing different sides of the band (Since their first song was a short one, had to give them another song to give them a fair representation here.

 Starcastle, was an unlikely Midwestern progressive rock band from Champaign, IL that very much emulated the sound and style of Yes, and thus was generally dismissed as being an unoriginal Yes clone. Although this was understandable to some degree, as the band did quite often sound just like Yes, particularly their Jon Anderson-like lead vocalist, it was also unfair, in that they were a very talented band that played all their own very good original songs (they never copied actual Yes songs), but just played in a style similar to Yes. And to me, that seems to be a very good thing, especially since  these guys came along right around the time that Yes themselves were losing their progressive luster (Going For The One, Tormato, etc.), so I thoroughly welcomed and enjoyed their fresh take on the Yes style. Plus, they had many other influences that also shaped their music. Their first album (Starcastle – 1976) established their sound and reputation in this regard (and presented here is the track ‘Forces’), and they continued to grow and develop their own style over the next 2 albums (Fountains of Light-1977, Citadel-1978), but with limited commercial success, which lead them to move away from Prog towards more mainstream (and lackluster) rock for their next album, which was their last as it failed to generate much support.

Harmonium was a French Canadian progressive folk band from Montreal, Quebec that formed in 1972. They started out as a jazzy folk trio, but then delved into a more progressive form of folk music, utilizing a symphonic style and extended complex instrumental passages. They are best-known for their 2nd album (one of three they made), Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison (If We Needed a Fifth Season), a concept album with each song representing a season, including a mythical fifth season. This is a beautiful, joyous progressive rock album, that has ranked among the Rolling Stone Top 50 (coming in at #36). Presented here is the opening track, ‘Vert’ (Spring).  

Ok, so Todd Rundgren doesn’t quite fit the ‘lesser-known’ categorization, but his foray into progressive rock with the original Todd Rundgren’s Utopia does seem somewhat forgotten. Although later albums (by a completely different lineup) from the name-shortened Utopia abandoned progressive rock for more mainstream pop-rock, the first Todd Rundgren’s Utopia album (1974) was decidedly progressive, and here is an excerpt (the final 8 min) from the band’s LP-side-busting 30 min. epic track, ‘The Ikon’. This was the only studio album from this progressive version of the band (although an additional live album of mostly new material was released in 1975), which self-destructed in 1976, leading to many changes in personnel and musical direction. 

Yezda Urfa was another Midwestern prog band (from Chicago, IL) that never made it. Formed in 1973 and influenced by Yes, Gentle Giant, Focus, and PFM, among others, they struggled to find an audience. They recorded a self-financed Demo album, Boris, in 1975 that they shopped around to record labels, with no takers. They tried again in 1976 (self-financing again) and recording a more professional-sounding, elaborate album, Sacred Baboon, but again, could not find a label willing to take them on, release, or distribute their already recorded album, and thus broke up without ever securing a record deal. However, years later, someone picked up a demo copy of Boris at a used record store, got it into the hands of the progressive label Syn-Phonic, who managed to contact remnants of the band, and eventually released Sacred Baboon in 1989, where it began to generate acclaim as a lost Prog masterpiece, resulting in Boris also getting released, and eventually the band re-forming in 2004, and releasing a live album. Presented here is the original version of ‘Boris and his Three Verses, including Flow Guides are Not My Bag’ (which was revised and re-recorded for Sacred Baboon, but I prefer this earlier version - although I shortened it just a bit for this sampler), which shows both the more melodic as well as rowdy cacophonous aspects of the band.  

Next, second entry from Happy The Man, 'Service with A Smile', the cool instrumental opening track from Crafty Hands (1978).

 

 

Lastly, we have Seventh Wave (who also is not from North America, UK again, but fits into the themes of this sampler), which was essentially two guys (multi-layered keyboards and drums) producing symphonic electronic progressive pop-rock, with catchy melodies, synth-heavy electronic soundscapes, and percussive oddities and flourishes galore. They only made 2 albums (as they reportedly never got along), the first being the excellent Things to Come (1974) featuring a series of connected bright, bouncy, catchy electronic tunes. Presented here is the bulk of the concluding tracks from side 2 that I have banded together as the 'Festival Suite' (since it begins and ends with the same melodic theme). Again, some may consider this too ‘poppy’ to be progressive, but this ‘band’ is unique and unlike anything else, and to me this is what was especially great about progressive rock in the ‘70’s. A particular favorite of mine. Their subsequent album Psi-Fi (1975) was disappointing in comparison, but still had many unique and interesting aspects. 

So, there you have it. Hope this is of interest and many will enjoy it, as well as find some new (old) music and progressive bands worth checking out. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you have some favorite lesser-known progressive-type bands that you’d like to share.

For more information on these and just about any other progressive rock-related band or album, The Prog Archives (www.progarchives.com) is a great resource, containing much info, reviews, ratings, etc. on all things Prog.
 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Dixie Dregs - 1982-06-11 - Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

The Dixie Dregs

1982-06-11  
Berklee Performance Center,
Boston, Mass. U.S.A.
Soundboard recording, excellent quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's more from jazzy progressive rockers The Dixie Dregs, from a few years later than the previous post (from 1979). In 1980, the band released their first album with Arista Records (and fifth overall), Dregs of the Earth. For their next album, Unsung Heroes (1981), Violinist extraordinaire Mark O'Connor joined the band (replacing Allen Sloan), and they shortened their name to just The Dregs, in an attempt to increase their national and commercial appeal (by removing the obvious Southern reference), but with little effect. Their next album, Industry Standard (1982) included vocals on some songs for the first time, featuring guest vocalists such as Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) and Alex Ligertwood (Santana). Although their albums were critically acclaimed and much loved among fans, and they toured extensively in 1981 and 1982, efforts to increase their popularity were not successful, and frustrated by their lack of building a bigger fanbase, the band members went their separate ways following their 1982 tour. Reunions occurred in the late 80's and mid-90's, releasing a new album in 1994 (Full Circle). In subsequent, The Dregs have remained a loose assemblage of former members, occasionally reunited for specific events or short tours, right up to the present day. But here we have The Dregs in a great soundboard recording from their 1982 Tour, with a longer show featuring mostly new and different songs than in the previously posted show. Great stuff.    

Tracklist:
1: assembly line > take it off the top  5:55
2: divided we stand  5:21
3: where's Dixie  4:33
4: chips ahoy  4:45
5: rock and roll park (O'Connor on guitar)  5:03
6: bloodsucking leeches (O'Connor on guitar)  4:17
7: limerock  2:25
8: odyssey  7:37
9: kat food  5:12
10: vitamin Q  6:16
11: the bash  8:28
12: cruise control  13:42
13: punk sandwich  3:43
14: Twiggs approved  4:46
runtime: 82:09

The Dregs
Steve Morse: guitar
Mark O'Connor: violin (guitar on tracks 5 and 6)
T. Lavitz: keyboards & sax
Andy West: bass
Rod Morgenstein: drums

mp3 - Dixie Dregs_1982-06-11_Boston_mp3.rar

FLAC - Dixie Dregs_1982-06-11_Boston_FLAC.rar

Note: Although the image shown indicates 6/2 as the date, the correct date is 6/11. Image is from an earlier version recording of this show which had the wrong concert date. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Dixie Dregs - 1979-05-07 - Oakland Park Theatre, Oakland Park, FL

The Dixie Dregs

1979-05-07
 
Oakland West Theater, Oakland Park, Florida, USA 
Soundboard recording, excellent quality
Mp3 @ 320 kbps

While I'm featuring jazz fusion-esque prog rockers from the 70's, I can't leave out The Dixie Dregs, and their exciting and unique blend of country, southern rock, classical, jazz, contemporary pop, and 'electronic nonsense' in a compelling and dizzying package. The basis of what came to be The Dixie Dregs were originally formed by guitarist Steve Morse and bassist Andy West back in 1970, and went through various names, forms, and lineups in their early days as Morse and West were music students at University of Miami. Their first recording (The Great Spectacular, 1975) was a limited independent LP release recorded at U of M. Their first major label release, Free Fall, came in 1977 after signing with Capricorn records (and a recommendation by Chuck Leavell of the Allman Brothers Band). The critical success of that album led to What If  (1978) and their first major tour, with a lineup of Morse, West, Allen Sloan (violin), Mark Parrish (keyboards), and Rod Morgenstein (drums). Their next album, Night of the Living Dregs (1979) earned them their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and garnered them a much wider following. Keyboardist T Lavitz joined the band around this time, as Mark Parrish left. However, in late 1979, Capricorn Records folded, and the band signed with Arista for their next several albums. The show presented here is a fine soundboard recording from the Night of the Living Dregs tour in 1979 and features the band in prime form, shortly after T Lavitz joined the band.

   
Tracklist:
01. Freefall
02. Gina Lola Breakdown
03. Punk Sandwich
04. Night Meets Light
05. Refried Funky Chicken
06. Patchwork
07. Night Of The Living Dregs
08. The Bash
09. Odyssey
10. Drum Solo / Cruise Control
11. Disco Dregs
12. Kathreen
13. Dixie

Steve Morse - guitar
Andy West - bass guitar
Allen Sloan - violin
Rod Morgenstein - drums
T Lavitz - keyboards

Dixie Dregs_1979-05-07_OaklandPkFL_mp3.rar

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Weather Report - 1977-11-30 - Majestic Theater, Grand Rapids, MI

Weather Report

1977-11-30
Majestic Theater, Grand Rapids MI
Soundboard recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

While I'm featuring jazz fusion-prog rock from the Seventies, we can't forget one of the pre-eminent jazz-rock bands of that time, Weather Report. Weather Report was formed in 1970 by jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous. Although the band had a revolving door of drummers and percussionists over the years (Most notably Alphonse Mouzon, Chester Thompson, Alex Acuna, Peter Erskine) and multiple bassists (Alphonso Johnson, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Bailey), Zawinul and Shorter were central to every Weather Report lineup.  Both Shorter and Zawinul had worked with Miles Davis (most prominently on In a Silent Way, 1969) prior to forming Weather Report, and the early sound of the band leaned more towards an avant-garde jazz style building on the what Davis was doing. By 1973, the band was moving more towards a jazz-funk groove-oriented style, and Zawinul was a pioneer in the use of synthesizers in jazz. With both Shorter and Zawinul being first-rate composers (along with the later addition of Jaco Pastorius), Weather Report featured more structured and melodic songs than most jazz-oriented bands. By 1976, Weather Report moved further toward a jazz-rock-oriented approach, Bassist Jaco Pastorius joined the band, and their albums Black Market (1976) and Heavy Weather (1977) were their most popular and successful yet, culminating in an actual 'hit' in 'Birdland'. Here is a show from Weather Report around that time, a very nice soundboard recording of a show from Grand Rapids, MI in 1977. Although the recording is a bit short (may have been edited down to under an hour for radio broadcast), it features several songs from both Heavy Weather and Black Market. And since this recording did not include their most popular song, 'Birdland', I have added a version from another show (1978 audience recording - Providence) to round out the set.

Tracklist:
1.  Elegant People
2.  Scarlet Woman
3.  Teen Town
4.  A Remark You Made
5.  Interlude
6.  Black Market
7.  Its About That Time
8.  Night and Day 
Bonus Track: 
 (1978-11-12 - Providence, RI, Aud)
9. Birdland


Joe Zawinul - Keyboards
Wayne Shorter - Saxophones
Jaco Pastorius - Bass
Alex Acuna - Drums
Manolo Badrena - Percussion  
(Bonus track only, Peter Erskine - Drums)

FLAC - Weather Report_1977-11-30_Grand RapidsMI_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Weather Report_1977-11-30_Grand RapidsMI_mp3.rar

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Return To Forever - 1975-11-12 - Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, NY


R
eturn To Forever
1975-11-22
Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, NY
 

FM Broadcast Recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions
                       
While we're visiting the neighborhood of the jazz fusion branch of the '70's Progressive Rock scene, how about some Return To Forever, jazz keyboardist Chick Corea's foray into the 70's fusion trend, with the best lineup featuring Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar, and Lenny White on drums. Their album veering the closest to a more rockin' style was Romantic Warrior in 1976, which was also their most popular and successful. Unfortunately, Al and Lenny left the band shortly after that album, and the band did not tour that year. Chick and Stanley reconfigured the band for the 1977 album Music Magic, taking the band in a slightly different direction and style, and never quite recaptured the feel or success of Romantic Warrior. Although there are no shows from 1976, here is a show from late 1975 that features an early version of the title track to their next album, Romantic Warrior, as well as virtuoso performances (with songs from previous albums and much improvisation). Check it out.

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Vulcan Worlds
3. talk
4. Shadow of Lo
5. talk
6. Romantic Warrior
7. Chick's Solo - La Fiesta
8. Al's Solo piece
9. Stanley's Solo piece
10. Lenny's Solo piece
11. Outro

Chick Corea
Al Di Meola
Stanley Clarke  
Lenny White

FLAC - Return To Forever_1975-11-22_HempsteadNY_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Return To Forever_1975-11-22_HempsteadNY_mp3.rar
 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Brand X - 2019-02-08 - Cruise to the Edge, Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas

Brand X

February 8, 2019
Cruise To The Edge (Day 5)
Colony Club, Royal Caribbean Brilliance Of The Seas
En Route from Cozumel, Mexico to Tampa, FL USA
Lostbrook 2.0 Volume 283
Audience recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and mp3 (320 kbps) versions

40 years after first forming the band, the original founders guitarist John Goodsall and bassist Percy Jones re-formed their jazz fusion progressive rock band Brand X in 2016, first for a special reunion show, but then the band continued on for further touring in 2017 and beyond. . The new version of the band had Chris Clark on keyboards, Scott Weinberger on percussion, and brought back Kenwood Dennard on Drums. In 2017, Kenny Grohowski replaced Dennard on drums. Demonstrating that they still had what it takes, here is a show from 2019. Unfortunately, Goodsall was not available for this show, part of a progressive rock special cruise (the Cruise to the Edge series - also featured on the Cruise that year: Yes, Steve Hackett, PFM, Pendragon, Soft Machine, Riverside, Gazpacho, and the David Cross Band), but guitarist Alex Machacek capably fills in.Thanks to taper Lostbrook who was on the Cruise and captured many of the shows on tape and has made them available. Check out Brand X still sizzling in 2019.

Tracklist:
01 Intro > Euthanasia Waltz (5:14)
02 Smacks Of Euphoric Hysteria (5:24)
03 Born Ugly (11:53)
04 Not Good Enough - See Me! > Band Intros (10:09)
05 Why Should I Lend You Mine (When You've Broken Yours Off Already) (10:46)
06 The Ghost Of Mayfield Lodge (10:58)
07 Nuclear Burn (10:11)
08 Disco Suicide (8:49)
09 Malaga Virgen (11:28)

Percy Jones - bass
Chris Clark - keyboards
Scott Weinberger - percussion
Kenny Grohowski - drums, percussion
Alex Machacek - guitar

FLAC - Brand X_2019-02-08_Cruise to the Edge_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Brand X_2019-02-08_Cruise to the Edge_mp3.rar

Friday, August 28, 2020

Brand X - 1977-09-28 - Glass Onion, Rochester, NY

Brand X
1977-09-28

Glass Onion, Rochester, NY
FM Broadcast Recording, very good quality
Available in both lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions
 

Jazz fusion-progressive rock band Brand X picked up where the original Mahavishnu Orchestra left off and took the jazz-rock branch of the progressive rock movement to a whole new level. More jazz, more rock, and more progressiveness. Brand X was formed in 1975 by guitarist John Goodsall, bassist Percy Jones, and keyboardist Robin Lumley. Genesis drummer Phil Collins was invited to join in on some early band rehearsals, and this core group eventually recorded the first Brand X album, Unorthodox Behavior (1976). Collins played with the band whenever he was not busy with Genesis commitments. For their next album, Moroccan Roll (1977), percussionist Morris Pert was added to the lineup. But with Collins busy with his own Genesis tour, another drummer had to be recruited for the band's upcoming 1977 North American tour, and jazz drummer Kenwood Dennard was brought in (and a very capable replacement he was). A Live album from the 1977 tour was released, Livestock (1977). The band endured lineup changes for the next album, Masques (1978), with Collins unavailable, and Lumley and Pert leaving, but Collins returned for the next album, Product (1979). Two more albums were released in the subsequent years (which included Collins and Lumley on some tracks), Do They Hurt? (1980) and Is There Anything About? (1982), however, these consisted primarily of outtakes from the Product sessions, and the band had essentially disbanded in 1980 after their world tour. Goodsall and Jones later revived the band in 1992 (although Goodsall and Jones were the only members from previous incarnations) for a couple of new albums, but again disbanded by 1997. But following a 2016 reunion (including Goodsall, Jones, Lumley, and Dennard), the band was re-formed for additional touring and is still active. Here is a show (2 sets) from their heyday in 1977 (although does not include Collins, as he was touring with Genesis). Great 1970's jazz-rock fusion/progressive rock.

Tracklist:
Disc 1: Early Show
1. Radio Intro/Disco Suicide
2. Why Should I Lend You Mine
3. Deadly Nightshade
4. Nightmare Patrol
5. Nuclear Burn
Disc 2: Late Show
1. Disco Suicide
2. Earth Dance
3. Malaga Virgen
4. Access To Data
5. Why Should I lend You Mine
6. Deadly Nightshade

John Goodsall - Guitar
Percy Jones - Bass
Robin Lumley - keyboards
Morris Pert - Percussion
Kenwood Dennard - Drums
 

FLAC - Brand X_1977-09-28_Rochester_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Brand X_1977-09-28_Rochester_mp3.rar