Sunday, May 2, 2021

BB's Album Rankings - GENESIS

BB's Album Rankings - GENESIS


Time again for another artist album ranking, listing my selections from least to most favorite studio albums. Up this time is another of my favorite bands – Genesis. Now, there’s a lot that can be said about Genesis, and certainly they have had their ups and downs, and changes through the years, from their stellar progressive rock albums to their more commercial rock and pop-oriented later albums. But, overall, I think they have one of the more impressive catalogs in rock, with several masterpiece albums, and high quality albums throughout their history, whether focused on prog or pop/rock.

So, Genesis was first formed in 1967 by core members Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute), Tony Banks (keyboards), Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar), and Anthony Phillips (guitar) at Charterhouse School, Surrey, where they were students. They released their first album in 1969, while all still in school and in their teens.  Their venture into more progressive rock began with their second album, Trespass (1970), but guitarist Anthony Phillips, who was a major part of their overall style and sound, left after that album, due to health and stage fright issues (Phillips, however, went on to a successful and productive solo album career). But the ‘classic’ lineup of the band began in 1971, when guitarist Steve Hackett and drummer Phil Collins were brought in. An impressive series of progressive rock masterpiece albums followed, until Peter Gabriel left in 1975 to go solo. Gabriel was not replaced, with Phil Collins now covering lead vocal duties. And the band continued without hesitation, releasing two more stellar progressive rock albums before Steve Hackett left the band in 1977 (also to a successful solo career). But Hackett was not replaced either, and now Mike Rutherford handled guitar and bass on record (additional musicians were added in concert). Although many predicted the end of Genesis (first after Gabriel left, then after Hackett), the band kept going, seemingly getting stronger, albeit slowly changing styles to a more commercial, radio-friendly, pop-rock-oriented sound, while still maintaining prog rock elements and influences. By the 1980’s, the band had emerged as a hit-making powerhouse, with the move toward shorter pop-oriented songs and ballads yielding a string of hit singles and #1 albums that carried into the nineties. But after taking a break in the early nineties, Collins announced he was leaving the band in 1996. The remaining 2 members (Banks and Collins) decided to continue on (now without Gabriel, Hackett, or Collins), but the resulting album was not well-received, and marked the end of Genesis, aside from various reunion tours and events over the years. Both the earlier Prog years and the later more pop leanings certainly have their devoted fans, although it seems relatively few seem to love the band through all those years. There are those that only listen to the Peter Gabriel years (1969-1974) and derisively dismiss anything released after that time, and then there are many who only discovered the band through their later mainstream hits and pop ballads. And before we get into the catalog, I first want to dispel the biggest myth surrounding the band and their changes over the years: That as soon as Gabriel left, the band stopped being a progressive rock band and became a pop band driven almost completely by Phil Collins. That’s not true at all, or even that there are 2 distinct phases of the band as a progressive rock icon and a pop music hitmaker. As usual, the reality is a lot more complicated. I submit that the band continued to be a great progressive rock act well after Peter Gabriel split, producing some of their best progressive albums in his aftermath (at least as long as Steve Hackett was still involved, and possibly beyond). It’s true that by the ‘80’s the shift towards pop hits and ballads was prominent, but they always maintained at least some progressive edges and influences.

I am someone, however, that enjoys Genesis all throughout their career (although not everything they did), as they remained a top-notch (although quite different) band throughout their many changes. After all, there’s nothing wrong with pop/rock, if it is good pop/rock, and Genesis made some pretty darn good pop/rock, in addition to some of the greatest progressive rock of all time.   

Here’s to the albums and career of a great band – Genesis. And here is my ranking of the Genesis Studio Albums, from Least to Best – in my opinion.  Genesis released 15 studio albums between 1969 and 1997, as well as a few EPs and several live albums (which won’t be discussed here), although I believe only 13 of the albums should really be considered actual Genesis albums (as will be discussed below).

Last: The First album released by Genesis, From Genesis to Revelations (1969) as well as their last album, Calling All Stations (1997), can’t really be considered true Genesis albums. The first album, although includes the core members of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford, the band was nothing like they would become. They hadn’t found their voice or sound yet and were trying to imitate other pop bands and styles of the time (such as Moody Blues, Bee Gees, etc.) at this point. Not really much of note here, a bunch of forgettable pop ditties (although the fact that they were made when these guys were teenagers is still pretty impressive). And with Calling All Stations, not only was Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett long gone, but so was Phil Collins. The remaining duo of Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford brought in Ray Wilson as vocalist and Nick D’Virgilio on drums, but the results can hardly be called Genesis. Overall, the album is not bad and has some good tracks, but it isn’t Genesis anymore (And Then There Were Two?). I think they would have been better off calling this a new band, as that is what it was, and maybe could have found some success in doing that, without the expectations of being Genesis. Anyway, not really worth evaluating as Genesis albums (they would still be at or near the bottom anyway).

13. Abacab (1981)

I have to say that, personally, this was one of the most disappointing albums I have ever heard in my life. Coming into this album, I had been pleasantly surprised at how strong the previous two albums (after the departure of Steve Hackett) had been. But this album is a disaster. I understand that times were changing and they felt they needed to try something new, but this is terrible. I consider this Genesis’ attempt at New Wave, but it just doesn’t work and is easily the worst Genesis album. The sound and style on this album pretty much negates everything they had done up to this point. Gone are the lush soundscapes, intricate instrumentals, and beautiful melodies, only to be replaced by songs that are simplistic, repetitive, tuneless, and frankly annoying. They use a lot of programmed (machine) drum tracks (which is crazy because they have one of the greatest rock drummers in the band), and many of the songs sound like they were making them up as they went along (which apparently they were). Some might say they should be given credit for trying something new, as they apparently were specifically trying to record songs that did not sound like anything they had done before, but this is just a complete wrong direction for the band. One of the few bright spots here is ‘Man on the Corner’, which is a cool Collins ballad, but little else here is worth much. The only Genesis album I never listen to (by choice).  Best songs: ‘Man on the Corner’, ‘Another Record’. Worst songs: ‘Who Dunnit?’, ‘Abacab’, ‘Keep It Dark’, ‘Dodo/Lurker’, ‘No Reply at All’.  

12. Invisible Touch (1986)

The band at their most ‘poppy’, yet there are still some quite good songs here. You have to get past such lightweight disposable (and somewhat annoying) pop fluff like ‘Invisible Touch’ and ‘Anything She Does’, but ‘Throwing It All Away’ is a genuinely beautiful pop ballad and ‘Land of Confusion’ is a solid quirky rocker. They even throw a bone to whatever remains of their prog-rock fans with ‘Domino’ and parts of ‘Tonight Tonight Tonight’, that keep the prog elements burning faintly. And the oddball instrumental ‘The Brazilian’ could have been something if it went anywhere (after intriguing opening sections, the song just repeats itself after the first 2 min.).  So, definitely a mixed bag here, but some worthwhile elements.

11. We Can’t Dance (1991)

A stronger album than many give it credit for. Although only a couple standout tracks, there are some quite good songs here, and the album comes in at a whopping 71 minutes, basically a double album in length, and I never fault a band for giving their audience more music for the same price. Yes there are some lackluster tracks here that just go by relatively unnoticed, but more than enough good songs to make a decent album, and overall, just a very pleasant listening experience.  Not too exciting, but nice. Best songs: ‘Dreaming While You Sleep’, ‘Fading Lights’, ‘Living Forever’, ‘Tell Me Why’. Worst song: ‘I Can’t Dance’.

So, those are really the only not-so-great albums. All the rest I consider at least quite good/very good.

10. Genesis (1983)

I really like this album and consider it a great comeback after the dismal Abacab. Great sound throughout and a return to a more suitable and familiar Genesis style, mixing pop and rock with progressive flourishes throughout. The standout tracks include the ‘Home by the Sea’-‘Second Home’ combo, ‘Silver Rainbow’, and ‘It’s Gonna Get Better’ (all proudly showing their prog elements). And the singles are mostly good, with ‘That’s All’ a wonderfully fun pop ditty and ‘Taking it All Too Hard’ a beautiful love ballad. Only the regrettable ‘Illegal Alien’ and the irritatingly creepy ‘Mama’ keep this from being a really great album. Still a darn good one.

9. And Then There Were Three (1978)

Surprisingly strong album considering this followed the loss of guitarist extraordinaire and composer Steve Hackett (and was not replaced with another guitarist). Yes, there is a noticeable shift in style, but several excellent tracks here. With Hackett gone, the sound is even more keyboard-oriented, with Tony Banks dominating the sound, but he creates many very effective soundscapes. Several songs have quite beautiful melodies and themes. They purposely went for shorter songs here in order to fit more songs on, but the style and structure are still very much in the progressive rock vein. The only weakness here is that overall, there is somewhat of a sameness to the songs here (most likely due to the loss of a key songwriter and the more diverse sounds and styles that he brought). Some have tried to make the case that because this album contains the band’s first actual hit single (‘Follow You, Follow Me’), it signals their sellout, but the song is in the same vein and quite similar to other songs that they made much earlier in their career (such as ‘I Know What I Like’), and is quite a good song.  Overall a very good album, showing they could carry on as a threesome.  Best songs: ‘Burning Rope’, ‘Undertow’, ‘Deep in the Motherlode’, ‘Snowbound’, ‘The Lady Lies’. Weakest songs: ‘Scene’s From a Night’s Dream’, ‘Say It’s Alright Joe’.

8. Trespass (1970)

Early Genesis finding their unique style, the first ‘real’ Genesis album, setting the stage for greater things to come, yet not quite hitting their stride yet. This was prior to Phil Collins and Steve Hackett joining the band, but guitarist Anthony Phillips sets the mood with his acoustic 12-string magic, and Banks’ keyboard wizardry and Gabriel’s vocals establish the basics of what is to come. The songs on Side One all have some really great moments, yet do not quite hold together completely (just not quite fully realized – beautiful sections marred by other dull or lackluster sections). But they put it all together on Side Two, with three great songs, ‘Stagnation’ being the best, and ‘The Knife’ considered an early classic, with a darker and harder tone and style than the rest of the album. Overall, a very good, but not quite great album. Best songs ‘Stagnation’, ‘Dusk’, ‘The Knife’. Weakest songs: ‘Visions of Angels’, ‘White Mountain’.

7. Duke (1980)

Certainly the best album of the post-Hackett, 3-man band years. And although the album contains some soft ballads, it still is a quite masterful progressive rock album. Highlights are the songs included in the Duke Suite (‘Behind the Lines’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Guide Vocal’, ‘Turn It On Again’, ‘Duke’s Travels/Duke’s End’), which were originally planned to be one multi-section 30-min epic song, but instead were divided up throughout the album. But it all works here, and the ‘Duke’s Travels/End’ make a powerful album closer, reminiscent of their best progressive work. Even the hit single ‘Misunderstanding’ is a great ‘pop’ song, and ‘Turn It On Again’ is a rousing rocker. I would have been fine with the band continuing to include a couple of pop/rock hits like these per album, as long as the overall album also continued to provide the kind of depth and musicianship present here, but that was not to be on future albums. A great album.

6. Nursery Cryme (1971) 

The arrival of newcomers Steve Hackett and drummer Phil Collins (and setting the ‘classic’ lineup) pays immediate dividends as Genesis solidifies their sound and establishes themselves as one of the greats of the burgeoning progressive rock scene. The new kids are even given a song all their own to showcase themselves (‘For Absent Friends’). Collins’ dynamic drumming is immediately apparent (and the biggest step up from the previous album), and Hackett’s inspired guitar work takes off from where Ant Phillips left off.  Tracks such as ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘Fountain of Salmacis’ are great, enduring classics. However, it is not quite as consistently great as the band’s very best albums. Personally, I have never liked the somewhat annoying and unpleasant epic ‘Return of the Giant Hogweed’ (although many consider it classic). That as well as a couple other lesser tracks keep this from cracking the top five or reaching the masterpiece category of their very best.

Now, the top five, all truly great albums, and among the very best progressive rock albums ever made.

5. Wind and Wuthering (1977)

Steve Hackett’s last album with the band, yet dominated more by Tony Banks and Phil Collins, and just a great album.  They continue their tradition of great album openers and closers, with ‘Eleventh Earl of Mars’ and the stunning closing combo of the dynamic instrumental ‘Into This Quiet Earth’ and the transcendent ‘Afterglow’, perhaps their greatest soaring ballad (and bringing the power reminiscent of the finale sections of ‘Supper’s Ready’).  ‘One for the Vine’ ranks among their greatest epic tracks and Hackett’s ‘Blood on the Rooftops’ is beautifully sublime. If they would have included Hackett’s wonderful ‘Inside and Out’ in place of the relatively weak ‘All in a Mouse’s Night’ this could have ranked even higher (‘Inside and Out’ was relegated to the little-heard EP Spot The Pigeon).  

4. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

Peter Gabriel’s oddball epic adventure swan song with the band, a fantastic double album. In the first half (disc 1), every song is brilliant, just masterful, covering a variety of styles, but all fitting together perfectly. Sure, it’s hard to follow or make much sense of the sprawling narrative of Rael’s bizarre journey in this concept album, but the music is sensational. Based just on the first half, this album would have ranked even higher on this list, near the top.  However, the listening experience falters somewhat in the second half (disc 2). There’s still some great stuff there as well (such as ‘The Lamia’, ‘Lilywhite Lilith’ etc.), but both the story and the music bogs down considerably here with some tedious and lackluster sections that diminish the whole to some degree. Some sections are nothing more than noises, sound effects, and moody atmosphere that bring the whole album to a screeching halt. I have to admit that for a long time I hardly ever played the second disc (although listened to the first disc often) due to these issues (which is a shame because then miss out on the good stuff that is there). In recent years, I have made my own edited version, removing the offending sections and making the whole thing fit on a single CD, and it is much more enjoyable, and now I can enjoy the whole thing (or nearly whole thing). Still a great album (with ~80 of the 94 minute runtime being superb), but the problematic parts in the second half keep it from making the top three, which are virtually flawless albums. Best songs: ‘Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging’, ‘In the Cage’, ‘Back in NYC’, ‘Cuckoo Cocoon’, ‘Chamber of 32 Doors’, ‘Hairless Heart’, ‘Carpet Crawlers’. Worst songs: ‘The Waiting Room’, ‘Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats’, ‘Ravine’, ‘Colony of Slippermen-The Arrival’.

3. A Trick of the Tail (1976)

With this album, their first without Peter Gabriel, the band not only proved they could survive the loss of Gabriel, but that they would thrive, as they went and produced one of their very best albums as well. First, the production and sound quality is brighter and cleaner than previous albums (previous engineer David Hentschel stepped into a producer role here), and the songs are generally a bit lighter and brighter as well (relative to the somewhat dark and ominous Lamb), yet just as strong of a progressive rock album. It also plays as more of a stylistic and engrossing whole, rather than as a collection of individual songs. Starting with the dynamic opener/closer combo of ‘Dance on a Volcano’ and ‘Los Endos’, the album shines from beginning to end. In between is an array of entertaining story songs, ranging from the gentle beauty of ‘Entangled’ and ‘Ripples’ to the engaging whimsy of ‘Trick of the Tail’ to the excitement and mystery of ‘Robbery…’ and ‘Squonk’ to the engrossingly beautiful epic ‘Mad Mad Moon’. Every song is a gem.  Best songs: ‘Mad Mad Moon’,’ Dance on a Volcano/Los Endos’, ‘Entangled’, ‘Trick of the Tail’, ‘Ripples’. Weak songs: none

2. Selling England By the Pound (1973)

A true masterpiece. From beginning to end just a brilliant album in every aspect. Every song a classic of style, sound, and substance. And probably their most accessible of their early work, with superior songwriting, masterful musicianship, great melodies, and spellbinding instrumental passages. Every band member shines throughout, from Phil Collins’ dynamic drumming, Tony Banks’ inspired keyboard work, Steve Hackett’s otherworldly guitar, and Peter Gabriel’s expressive and inimitable vocals. One of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. Simply astounding. A great, dynamic album opener of ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ leads to their ‘almost a hit’ sing-along song ‘I Know What I Like’, and then the incredible ‘Firth of Fifth, with its fantastic piano opening sequence, powerful melodies, and Steve Hackett’s stunning guitar solo making this a powerhouse epic track. And then the charming ‘More Fool Me’, where Phil Collins is featured on vocals, and we get a preview of what’s to come later in one of Phil’s most engaging songs and performances. And it just gets better from there, with what is perhaps the best of the band’s series of darkly comic epic story songs, with the inventive ‘The Battle of Epping Forest’, and then eventually leading to one of the band’s greatest songs of all ‘The Cinema Show’ , a beautiful, fantastic epic with some of their best instrumental sections. This was the first Genesis album I ever heard, and was immediately blown away by it. Just utterly fantastic. Best songs: ‘The Cinema Show’, ‘Firth of Fifth’, ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’, ‘I Know What I Like’. Weak songs: none.    So, how could this not be their best album? Well that’s only because at #1 is…

1. Foxtrot (1972)

For me, this is the greatest progressive rock album of all time, which makes it one of the greatest albums of all time, and so just has to be Genesis’ best album as well. A tour de force of dynamic, intriguing, and powerful progressive rock from beginning to end. Stunning musicianship and instrumental prowess throughout, and their greatest songs. The standout track is, of course, 'Supper’s Ready', the greatest progressive rock song of all time, a 23-min epic that fills Side 2 of the album, and has everything you could ever want in a song. Introduced by Hackett’s beautiful brief solo classical guitar piece ‘Horizons’, 'Supper's Ready' starts with the wonderful anthemic  ‘Lover’s Leap’ section, establishing the theme with a beautiful soaring melody, then moving through the subsequent sections featuring delightful, beautiful, emphatic, quirky, majestic, silly, powerful, and bizarre aspects as it moves along, culminating in the utterly incredible and powerful long buildup of 'Apocalypse in 9/8', resolving in the most triumphant, majestic, and transcendent finale reprising themes from earlier in the piece. An unparalleled achievement in rock music. And unlike most long-form songs, there are no lulls or letdowns or long repetitive passages or tedious solos. The multiple sections keep the song moving and changing throughout, introducing new elements and themes every few minutes, and astonishing instrumental and vocal sections. And this is the only 20-plus minute song I know that actually seems too short, as when it comes to the end, you just want it to keep going on longer, it is just such a joy to listen to. Although certainly the highlight, the album has much more to offer as well. Side 1 also contains some of the band’s greatest works, including album opener ‘Watcher of the Skies’ and the quirky darkly comic story song ‘Get Em Out by Friday’. But the highlight of Side 1 is the vastly underrated masterpiece that is ‘Can-Utility and The Coastliners’, a masterfully efficient mini-epic that packs all the beauty, excitement, glory, and drama of their long-form epics into an incredible and remarkably creative song coming in at a concise runtime of under 6 minutes. The album is just amazing from beginning to end, set the bar for what progressive rock could accomplish, and influenced countless imitators and admirers, and fans. The epitome of progressive rock.

OK, so that’s how I see it. But all of those top 5-7 albums are just great, and thus I don’t have any complaints about others picking any of them as their favorite. But for me, it will always be Foxtrot at the top, the unparalleled, unbeaten, and undiminished champ of progressive rock. Disagree? Please enter your comments and your own ranking list in the comments below. But remember, these are just opinions, there are no definitive right or wrong rankings, as we all hear and enjoy different aspects of music. Let's hear from some of you.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Poco - 1969-07-05 - Eagles Auditorium, Seattle WA


Eagles Auditorium
Seattle, WA
Audience recording, good quality
Mp3 @ 192 kbps

OK, to wrap up this brief look at Poco and mini-tribute to Poco's guiding force for over 50 years, Rusty Young, here we go way back to the very early touring days of the band, 1969, sortly after the release of their very first album, Pickin' Up the Pieces (1969). This is the earliest Poco show recording that I know of (unfortunately it is an audience recording that I only have in a lesser quality 192 kbps Mp3 format). But even at this stage, they were already having lineup issues, as bassist Randy Meisner left during the mixing of the first album (reportedly due to disputes with Richie Furay), leaving them short-handed for their upcoming debut album tour. So Jim Messina covered bass where needed for the live shows (in addition to some guitar) and the band temporarily continued the tour as a foursome. Later that year, Timothy B. Schmit would be brought in to replace Randy, and would be an important member of the band until 1977 (when he joined the Eagles, to replace Randy Meisner yet again). But here, we have the young band playing an impressive couple of sets, playing all the songs from their first album, as well as several songs that would later be on their second and third albums, Poco (1970) and Deliverin' (1971), as well as some that remained unreleased for decades. Hear what the early excitement regarding Poco was all about in this show from their earliest days. As usual, its the pedal steel guitar of Rusty Young and the vocals of Richie Furay that really stand out, as well as their unique sound and style.  

Set 1 early show
01. Pickin' Up The Pieces
02. Hurry Up
03. My Kind of Love
04. Nothin's Still the Same
05. Just In Case It Happens, Yes Indeed
06. Grand Junction
07. A Child's Claim To Fame
08. Make Me A Smile
09. Nobody's Fool
10. El Tonto De Nadie Regresa

Set 2 late show
11. What A Day
12. Do You Feel It Too?
13. Calico Lady
14. Anyway Bye Bye
15. I Guess You Made It
16. Just In Case It Happens, Yes Indeed
17. Grand Junction
18. Consequently, So Long
19. Pickin' Up The Pieces
20. Short Changed
21. Nobody's Fool
22. El Tonto De Nadie Regresa

Richie Furay - guitars, vocals
Jim Messina - guitars, bass, vocals
Rusty Young - pedal steel guitar, Dobro
George Grantham - drums, vocals


Poco - 1970-11-01 - Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA


Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA
FM Broadcast recording, good quality
Mp3 @ 320 kbps

Here's more Poco, going back again to their earlier days, in 1970 after release of their second album, the self-titled Poco (1970). This show was apparently the debut of Paul Cotton as guitarist for the band. Jim Messina left the band after that second album, but not before he hand-picked his successor and made sure he was ready to join the band on stage. Paul Cotton was formerly in the Chicago band Illinois Speed Press and was recommended to Messina by Chicago's Peter Cetera. For this 3-night run at Fillmore West, where Poco opened for Procol Harum (which was a rather odd pairing), Messina played with the band for the first two nights (with Cotton watching from the wings), then let Cotton take over on the third night (and watched from the audience). So, here's that solid opening set with their new guitarist, Paul Cotton. Cotton would shortly be more prominent in both singing and songwriting with the band, but here at the start he was primarily just a guitarist, with Richie Furay still handling all the lead vocals. Tim Schmit was also relatively new to the band, having joined the band in September 1969 to replace Randy Meisner who left before the first album was even finished. Regardless, Here was Poco in 1970. 

01. I Guess You Made It (partial) 01:18
02. C'mon 03:20
03. Hear That Music 03:25
04. Anyway Bye Bye 08:45
05. Hurry Up 5:51
06. Hard Luck / A Child's Claim To Fame / Picking Up The Pieces 05:07
07. Make Me Smile 03:37
08. You Better Think Twice 04:47
09. Just In Case It Happens, Yes Indeed / Grand Junction / Consequently, So Long 09:49

Richie Furay - guitar, lead vocals
Paul Cotton - guitar, vocals
Rusty Young - steel guitar, guitar, vocals
Timothy B. Schmit - bass, vocals
George Grantham - drums, vocals

Poco_1970-11-01_San FranciscoCA.rar


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Poco - 1986-08-16 - Chestnut Cabaret, Philadelphia, PA


Chestnut Cabaret, Philadelphia, PA
Soundboard recording, very good quality
Mp3 @ 320 kbps

Here's some more from Poco, this one a bit later in their career, in the mid-eighties. So this was after Tim Schmit left and Rusty Young and Paul Cotton had re-formed a new version of Poco in 1978 (originally intended to be the Cotton-Young band, but was persuaded to keep the Poco name), with Britons Charlie Harrison (bass-vocals) and drummer Steve Chapman. This version of the band developed a bit more mainstream pop/rock, less country sound, and their first album with the re-tooled band, Legend (1978) finally struck gold, with two hit singles, 'Crazy Love' and 'Heart of the Night' (Poco's first singles to crack the top 40), and #14 on the album charts. However, they were not able to maintain this momentum, as their subsequent string of  '80's albums, Under the Gun (1980), Blue and Gray (1981), Cowboys and Englishmen (1982), and Ghost Town (1982), suffered diminishing returns. By the time of Inamorata (1984), the band tried to update to a more '80's sound, but it didn't work for them. After poor sales for Inamorata, they lost their record contract and were struggling to keep the band together. After some more lineup changes at bass and drums, Jack Sundrud (bass-vocals joined the band and Steve Chapman came back in 1986 after a brief departure. And that is where the band was at the time of this show. An uncertain future, but a great catalog of songs to play at shows. This is a show from Philadelphia, a good quality soundboard with the band playing a mixture of older and more recent songs. Not long after these series of shows Paul Cotton left the band, but fans of the band know that by 1989, a reunion of the original 5 members (Rusty Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, and George Grantham was arranged, and their subsequent album, Legacy (1989) did well, producing a couple hit singles, 'Call It Love' and 'Nothing to Hide'. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a single recording from that 1990 reunion tour. But the reunion was short-lived, with the bigger name players going back to their respective careers, leaving Rusty Young and Poco uncertain again. But Rusty teamed back up with Paul Cotton in 1992 and kept the band going, with various backing players, even sometimes just performing as a duo. Eventually, Sundrud and Grantham returned to the lineup and the band began recording and more regularly touring again. And later, even when he was the only one still going, Rusty Young continued the Poco tradition, right up until his recent death. Here's that glimpse of Poco during the '80's.

01. Intro 0:11
02. A Good Feelin’ to Know 4:20
03. Crazy Love 3:58
04. Bad Weather 4:23
05. Ride The Country 5:07
06. Under the Gun 3:24
07. Ghost Town 6:36
08. Heart Of The Night 5:44
09. Rhythm Of Love 4:51
10. Barbados (tape flip) 5:09
11. Boomerang 4:08
12. Trouble With Love 4:03
13. banter 1:38
14. Medley (Keep On Trying/Child’s Claim To Fame/Pickin’ Up The Pieces/Instrumental)  6:17
15. Magnolia 7:18
16. Rose Of Cimarron/Legend 13:13
17. Too Old To Die Young 3:02
18. On The Way Home 4:04
88 mins

Rusty Young - guitars, vocals
Paul Cotton - guitars, vocals
Jack Sundrud - guitar, bass, vocals
Steve Chapman - drums


Note: Before anyone points out that the picture used is not quite correct for this lineup, let me just say that I could not find any pictures of this band lineup, and this was the closest I could find for this era (after TB Schmit left but before they all got old). 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Poco - 1972-73 Radio Shows - Eindhoven Netherlands & Madison, NJ (R.I.P. Rusty Young 1946-2021)

R.I.P. Rusty Young 1946-2021
VPRO-Muziek, Nederland-1 Radio show
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Orrie De Nooyer Auditorium,   
Fairleigh Dickerson University, Madison, NJ

FM Broadcast recordings, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC-1972 show only) and Mp3 (320 kbps)

Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of the pioneering country-rock band Poco, Rusty Young died last week of a heart attack in his home in Missouri. He was 75. Young was known for his virtuoso pedal steel guitar-playing, in addition to banjo, dobro, and guitar. Poco has been performing as a band for over 50 years, and although there have been many lineup changes over the years, Rusty was the heart and soul of the band, and the only member to be a part of the band from the beginning right up to the present day, and on every album and every gig the band ever played. Rusty started playing the steel guitar at age 6 and became a master, teaching many others. In 1968, when Buffalo Springfield and Richie Furay needed to add pedal steel to a song for their last album, they hired Rusty Young, already known for his abilities, and when Buffalo Springfield broke up shortly after that, Richie Furay and Jim Messina took Rusty with them to form Poco and Young has been with Poco ever since, through all the ups and downs and years albums and shows. In the early years of the band, Rusty was primarily just an instrumentalist, but after Richie Furay left in 1973, Young stepped to the front, as a vocalist and songwriter as well as ace guitarist. Young was credited with bringing the pedal steel to rock music, and showing how it could be an integral part of a rock band. I have already written and posted much about Poco as a long under-appreciated country-rock legendary band, and Young was always at its heart. Although the last studio album by Poco was in 2013, Young and the band were still active and touring, right until the start of the pandemic last year, and plans were in place for shows to start up again later this year, when this sad news came through last week. Rusty Young released his only solo album, Waitin' For The Sun in 2017. Heartfelt condolences to Rusty's fans, friends, and family. But the best way to honor a musicians is through their music. Here today, we go back to those early days of Poco with two short radio shows from 1972 and 1973. The 1972 show is from the Netherlands and when Richie Furay was still in the band. This show includes the same songs as the previously posted Amsterdam show from a few days later, but this is in very good quality, and is available in lossless. The second show comes from Fairleigh Dickinsion University in New Jersey in 1973 and is one of the first series of shows after Furay left the band, and features songs from Crazy Eyes (1973). Adding these shows because there are very few quality recordings from these early days of the band.  I'll add on some other Poco shows from later in their career as well soon. Be sure to check out my previous posts featuring Poco (if you haven't already) here

1972-02-10 - Eindhoven, Netherlands
01. Hoedown (missing beginning, fades in)
02. Just For You and Me
03. You Are The One
04. Bad Weather (small gap [3 sec] at 4:19)
05. Hard Luck - Pickin Up the Pieces
06. Railroad Days

1973-11-02 - Fairleigh Dickinson U., Madison, NJ
07. Keeper Of The Fire (7:43)
08. Here We Go Again (3:46)
09. Blue Water (3:02)
10 Fool's Gold (1:27)
11. Driving Wheel (4:45)
12. C'mon (9:36)

FLAC (1972 show only) - Poco_1972-10-02_Netherlands_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Poco_1972-73 Radio Shows_Eindhoven&MadisonNJ_mp3.rar
Note: Updated to Solidfile links 4/20/21

R.I.P. Rusty Young 1946-2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Triskaideka-bloggia - 13 Years of BB

Don't Fear Number Thirteen

Triskaidekaphobia refers to the quite real fear of the number 13, whereas triskaidekabloggia refers to the celebration of the 13th anniversary of a favorite web blog (I decided).

Well, here we are again. Another April, and another anniversary for this blog. It's now been 13 years since I started this folly. Think about that, 13 years, through the good years and bad years, I'm still here. So, it's really been one messed-up year since the last anniversary, but things are looking up. My family and I have made it through the pandemic relatively unscathed. I have now been vaccinated, as are increasing numbers of people every day. Soon. live music venues and concerts should be coming back.  

So, anyway, Yes, this little outpost of a music blog has now been going for 13 full years, and although I readily acknowledge that it is not the most prolific or comprehensive blog around, a whole lot of great music has been talked about and presented here over the years, of many different styles, all from artists that I personally enjoy very much, and hope that others will also enjoy. I try to present a variety of music that may be hard to find or not readily available elsewhere. I also try to provide some background and context to the music and artists, as well as my own commentary, rather than just unadorned music files, to give those new to these artists some perspective and history, to explore the music further. And I also have tried to keep these posts available as much as possible over time, thus pretty much everything that has been posted previously should still be available (with the exception of things that ran into copyright issues). I hope that what I have provided here has been useful and worthwhile, as well as musically satisfying, and I hope it has been something that you come back to often and have been introduced to some new music here that you really enjoy, to expand your musical horizons and enjoyment, and be a positive addition to your musical experience as well as your music collection. And so I thank all of you out there who take the time to peruse this blog, download (and perhaps even read the comentary), and possibly provide comments or feedback, for making this endeavor worthwhile for me to continue.  

And once again, as I have each year at this time, I also want to take this time to thank and celebrate all the others out there who have made so much of this great music, which is not available for purchase anywhere, freely available to all who wish to download and enjoy it. I am only able to offer these downloads because others before me have made them available. So, to all the other bloggers, tapers, forum posters, and music fans that have collected these recordings and made them available over the internet, and most importantly, to all the great artists and musicians out there that have created and performed this wonderful music and allow these recordings to be freely exchanged, I offer a huge and heartfelt Thank You. And again, I implore everyone to purchase all the official releases of your favorite artists, as well as, wherever possible, go see them live in concert (as soon concerts are allowed again). The music here serves to supplement, not replace, all of their officially released music. They are supported by fans like us.

Moving Forward, I expect things to continue here along the same lines as previously (but maybe some improvements). I've been trying to post things a bit more consistently in recent months, and hopefully that will continue (or even improve) as the year goes on. I've introduced a new feature column of artist album rankings (so far only one done, but more coming). The next one up will be thoughts and ranking of another of my favorite artists, Genesis (will post that as soon as I get it written up). Other than that, I will always try to feature music and artists I think are worth hearing, with occasional tributes to recently fallen musical heroes. As always, I encourage feedback and discussion of anything mentioned or presented here. I know that there are alot of issues with Zippyshare for file storage (unavailable in many countries, and obnoxious, aggressive pop-ups throughout), but I have not been able to find a suitable substitute to transfer the bulk of what is currently on zippyshare. For most of the new stuff I am now using Solidfiles, but that has had problems too (regarding unavailability, unreliability at times, and a low storage maximum), such that I cannot use it to transfer large numbers of files. And my Mega accounts are also maxxed out, so to add anything added to them, something else has to be deleted. Anyway, again, if you know of other file storage options that are reliable, free, allow multiple simultaneous uploads/downloads, and have large storage capacity maximums, let me know. Anyway, Thanks to all, and let's try to stay safe, secure, and happy out there, and no matter what, be sure to appreciate and fully enjoy your music, whatever it may be.  


Monday, April 5, 2021

Atlanta Rhythm Section - 1979-10-26- Western Carolina University, Cullawhee, NC

Atlanta Rhythm Section

Western Carolina University,
Cullawhee, NC
(Plus tracks from 1978-09-03, Atlanta, GA)
Soundboard recordings, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Here's another good '70's rock band that had great regional success but  struggled to breakthrough to more widespread fame. Here is the The Atlanta Rhythm Section, a fun rockin' band, saddled with the 'Southern Rock' label when they were capable of a much broader mainstream success.Although they had a short string of hit singles, they were never quite able to make it big  ARS was formed in 1971 in Doraville, GA, originally as a Session band at a local recording studio. They signed with Decca records, but their first 2 albums (Atlanta Rhythm Section-1972 and Back Up Against the Wall-1973) failed to garner much attention and they were dropped by Decca. After being picked up by Polydor, their next album, Third Annual Pipe Dream (1974) featured a smoother, more accessible pop-rock style that resulted in some success and their first single, 'Doraville', to crack the top 40. Although their next 2 albums, Dog Days (1975) and Red Tape (1976) still floundered, they toured extensively during that period, building their reputation and receiving acclaim in the South and Midwest. They also secured opening act spots with the Who and The Rolling Stones that year. Bolstered by this increased exposure, their next album, A Rock and Roll Alternative (1976) would finally break through as an album success, on the strength of the hit single 'So Into You'. And their next album, Champagne Jam (1978), would be their biggest hit, reaching #7 on the US album charts (and platinum sales), and more hit singles with 'Imaginary Lover' and 'I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight'. In 1979, with a couple more hits, 'Do It or Die' and 'Spooky' (which was a remake of a hit song a couple of the band members had way back in 1967 with the Classics IV), their next album, Underdog, was also successful. But that was about it for the glory days, for as the calendar and musical styles moved into the '80's, they were no longer able to get their songs on the radio, and fan interest waned. Although their next 2 albums, Boys From Doraville (1980 and Quinella (1981) were  were still quite good, sales plummeted. Although they worked on another album in 1982, before finishing the album, disputes with their record company (now Columbia) resulted in shelving the album and the band. After that, some members split to go their own way, leaving the band in disarray. Although the band never actually split-up, as different makeshift lineups continued to play some gigs, they were essentially done at that point. Some years later, in 1989, lead singer Ronnie Hammond returned and rejuvenated the band, resulting in some new recordings in later years, with various members and lineups. The band does even still exist and continues to play shows, but with an almost completely different lineup from the old days. The only original member that has been a part of every ARS band over the years is keyboards-vocalist Dean Daughtry. Here is a fine show from their hey-day (1978-79). The fine soundboard recording of the Cullawhee show was missing the first few songs from the set, so I substituted in the probable opening songs from an earlier show (with a very enthusiastic Georgia Tech crowd) in Atlanta. This features all of their hits as well as many other quite memorable songs. Relive these simpler days with the boys from Doarville. 

1978-09-03 - Atlanta, GA
01. Back Up Against The Wall
02. Angel
03. Champagne Jam
1979-10-26 - Cullowhee,NC
04. I'm Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight
05. Born Ready
06. Do it or Die
07. Large Time
08. Imaginary Lover
09. Spooky
10. Another Man's Woman
11. Rocky Raccoon
12. Georgia Rhythm
13. So Into You
14. Long Tall Sally (fades out)

The Atlanta Rhythm Section:
Ronnie Hammond - vocals
Barry Bailey - lead guitar
James B. Cobb - guitar, backing vocals
Paul Goddard - bass
Dean Daughtry - keyboards, vocals
Robert Nix - drums, percussion, backing vocals

FLAC - Atlanta Rhythm Section_1979-10-29_CullawheeNC_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Atlanta Rhythm Section_1979-10-26_CullawheeNC_mp3.rar


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Michael Stanley Day (Thursday 3/25/21) declared in Cleveland as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and City of Cleveland pay tribute to Cleveland music icon

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and City of Cleveland to pay tribute to Cleveland music icon Michael Stanley Thursday (3/25/21) at designated Michael Stanley Day.

Story excerpted from Akron Beacon Journal, written by Mark J. Price

"Cleveland rocker Michael Stanley died March 5 after a seven-month battle with lung cancer. Thursday would have been his 73rd birthday. In honor of his special day, Cleveland is establishing it a city-wide holiday for the Ohio artist.
“On behalf of the citizens of the City of Cleveland, I extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Michael Stanley,” Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a prepared statement. “In celebration of his impact to the world of music near and far, I am pleased that Cleveland City Council declared March 25 as Michael Stanley Day.”

The celebration will begin at 10:15 a.m. on the plaza in front of the rock hall and will be streamed live on the Cleveland museum’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Among those in attendance for a special presentation will be members of Stanley’s family and musicians from The Resonators.
Radio stations across Northeast Ohio, including the station where Stanley worked as the afternoon disc jockey for the past 30 years, plan to play the Michael Stanley Band hit “My Town” in unison. "

Cleveland rock legend Michael Stanley died March 5, 2021, at age 72. (Photo: Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal)
Cleveland rock legend Michael Stanley died March 5, 2021, at age 72. (Photo: Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal)

"The rock hall will display artifacts from Stanley’s career, including his guitar, handwritten lyrics and concert set lists. The museum will play his music all day and will show video recordings, including interviews that Stanley gave during his five-decade career.

“The energy of his music and its ability to bring people together helped to make Cleveland the Rock & Roll Capital of the World, and it galvanized the community to rally together and make our city the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the rock hall, in a prepared statement. “His contributions to rock & roll and our region will not be forgotten, and we are honored to preserve his legacy and tell his story forever at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Formed in 1974, the Michael Stanley Band broke attendance records at several Ohio venues.
Months before his death, Stanley recorded an album with 14 new songs. Thursday fans will be able to stream two of the  new original songs featured on his upcoming posthumous project.
The Michael Stanley ceremony and proclamation on the rock hall plaza will be free to the public."

--Mark J. Price, Akron Beacon Journal 

Let's all play and/or sing-along to a Michael Stanley song as we pay tribute to his life, music, and legacy on his day today.