Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hello everybody! Hope you all had a good week.

8 Days In April - The Hamburg Scene (1972)

This album started life as a solo release by Jean Jacques Kravetz, then the keyboard player for Frumpy, titled simply "Kravetz". Not a real catchy name, so it's understandable that this was repackaged as "8 Days In April"! It was basically Kravetz fronting the Udo Lindenberg band, and Lindenberg wrote the lyrics and some of the music. The brilliant Inga Rumpf is on board for one tune doing the vocals for "I'd Like To Be A Child Again", a great jazzy ballad. This is a real tasty slab of laid-back keyboard-driven progressive rock, with some fantastic guitar playing courtesy of Thomas Kretzschmer. I really like this record, as you can probably tell from the name of the blog!


Aera - Humanum Est (1974)

Aera was a very capable, occasionally excellent, German band that specialized in largely instrumental music that straddled the fence between jazz-rock and progressive rock. Their debut LP, Humanum Est, leans more toward the progressive rock end of the spectrum. It features the riff-based compositions of guitarist Muck Groh, who was previously in Ihre Kinder - a progressive folk-rock band. Listening to this LP, it's not hard to fathom Groh's involvement in folk music: he's fond of his twelve string, and his intricate leads and solos on that instrument bring Dan Ar Bras to mind. On the electric 6-string, he leans toward a Jeff Beck / Janne Schaffer sort of approach - he's not really a jazz guitarist, but an accomplished soloist in a creative blues-rock vein. The bulk of Aera's jazz influence at this point could be credited to the band's other main soloist, soprano saxophonist / flutist Klaus Kreuzeder - he's quite good. (New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock)


Brainstorm - Smile A While (1972)
Brainstorm were a German Canterbury band …that’s right kids …a German Canterbury band offering very complex songs dripping with fusion flute and saxophones performances. I would not recommend this album to anyone who does not love fusion as this album is pretty heavy in its core fusion delivery. Brainstorm takes dimensions of Soft Machine and whips in elements of Caravan, John Coltrane and National Health. “Smile A While” was their first release under the name of Brainstorm but they were originally know as “Fashion Pink” . This album is full of dynamic and inventive jazz influenced progressive rock and membership in the band includes the zany Guru Guru band member Roland Schaeffer.


Gäa - Auf Der Bahn Zum Uranus (1973)

Auf der Bahn zum Uranus (On the Road to Uranus) was the only album put out by this German quintet during the life of the band. Gäa creates very trippy psychedelic style of music with lots of swirling organ and long, acid-drenched guitar leads. All five members sing so the lyrical passages tend to have lots of vocal harmonies and sound somewhat like the '67 West Coast psychedelic scene but the instrumental sections are pure "krautrock." They are quite a bit bluesier than most other German bands of this ilk and certainly not as out there as Ash Ra Tempel or Agitation Free. Maybe that's why they only made it to Uranus! There is a fair amount of acoustic guitar, piano, organ and also some flute and congas but generally the music is identified by the electric guitar solos typical of the German undergound scene of the early '70s. If you are a fan of this scene, you'll want this album as part of your collection.

Part 1 Part 2

Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt (1972)
The Grobschnitt sound was a bit more mainstream when compared to other big name groups from the genre, but nonetheless it was original and creative and incorporated some masterful musicianship. Their debut album kicks off with 'Symphony', a track of epic proportions containing a mock chorus, a string quartet, a Santana-esque Latin sound, jamming guitars, two percussionists and some cosmic electronic radio waves. A large section of this track is a jam session in D-minor, the key which they would later take to unparalleled cosmic heights during 'Solar Music'. The track 'Wonderful Music' is a soft classical track with some great flute and acoustic guitar work which is somewhat out of place, but nonetheless essential listening. Picking up where 'Symphony' left off, 'Sun Trip' is another epic track which begins with a sinister German narration underscored by a haunting guitar arpeggio and wind sound effects. Next, the song turns into a progressive rocker with a driving guitar and drum which give way to some varied lead-guitar work. The track even includes a slow middle section which borders on space rock. This album should appeal greatly to fans of progressive rock as well as fans of lead-guitar. The extended tracks give the band enough room to explore the rythm while also allowing the various instruments time to make their impact. As a bonus, the Repertiore CD contains a live recording of 'Symphony' under its German title 'Die Sinfonie'. This track is interesting as it shows the progress which the band made with the track in less than a year. (

Part 1 Part 2

High Wheel - 1910 (1993)

Wolfgang Hierl - the creative mastermind and responsible for most of High Wheel's music and lyrics studied classical guitar and flute at the Richard Strauß Konservatorium in Munich. Born in 1971, he and Erich Kogler (double-bass and piano (both classical) in 1988 decided to quit a local progressive-trash-metal band called "The Hammers." They were looking for something with more melody. After Hierl's six week trip to America (armed only with a backpack, a copy of "The Lord Of The Rings" and one of Däniken´s new editions about UFOs in old India), the impression of his visit as well as the interesting theories of Erich v. Däniken inspired the writing process for the song- "High Wheel in the sky" (part one as it was called later).

Back in Germany the "New H. Project" was founded and rehearsed on Wolfgang's new ideas, but the sound didn't happen until drummer-Uli Jenne (studied modern drum set at the "drummer's focus" in Munich) came onboard. Uli, along with his talent has supplies the rehearsal locations and sundries. Knowing each other for several years the three discovered a common sense of music, humor and life in general - and the idea to form "High Wheel" came in 1989. Within a few weeks a full two hour set was composed, arranged and rehearsed - and presented live on stage.

To properly play live, the group enlisted Andreas `Lobi' Lobinger, who studied electrical engineering at the Technical University in Munich, was a friend from high school and an accordion-player. During 1991 and after a few rehearsals and a free keyboard (bought by the band), Lobi eased into the groups sessions and a band was born.

In 1993, the group released `1910' - a Paleo-SETI story about an extraterrestrial civilization visiting the Earth in ancient ages, a stunning example of early 90's German progrock.


Sixty Nine - Circle Of The Crayfish (1973)
A talented German heavy classical rock duo, a keyboardist and a drummer, formed aptly in 1969. Armin Stöwe, obviously a Keith Emerson disciple, and probably a Brian Auger fan ably took on the role of organist, bassist and soloist. Sixty Nine though were not at all copyist, they had a style that took aggressive blues rock, added classical and avant-garde elements for original results. (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg)


The Nazgûl - The Nazgûl (1976)

A one-shot by three Germans who were probably obsessed with "The Lord Of The Rings"! They are identified in the artwork only as Frodo, Gandalf and Pippin. The four tracks have titles taken from the book also. I will admit without shame that I have never read the book or seen any of the movies so I don't really know how well these guys capture the mood that they obviously are going for, but this slice of Teutonic electronica is very dark sounding and spooky.


The New Yardbirds - London Blues
All Led Zeppelin fans need to download this one! The material on this bootleg was recorded in 1968, before Led Zep even took that name. The first two cuts are soundboard recordings from Tivoli Gardens in Stockholm, and the last seven tracks are from an excellent audience recording from the Marquee in London.

Part 1 Part 2

Raymond And Peter - Shut Up, Little Man!
Don't download this one unless your sense of humor is a little, ah, twisted. OK sick. You will either think this is hilarious or you will be horrified by the fact that some people think this is funny. The story is that in the mid 80's a couple of hipsters rented a cheap apartment in a run-down building in the Haight-Ashbury. They soon found that only a thin wall separated them from a couple of middle-aged raging alcoholic roommates whose near constant battles could be heard throughout the entire building. Peter was possibly gay, and Raymond was a virulent homophobe. Anyway our young hipsters started recording the nightly fights with an eye towards getting their neighbors evicted, but then began to see the drunken pair as cheap entertainment. They bought better recording equipment, and even started inviting friends over to listen to the fights! Some years back a few of my friends and I became obsessed with this CD, and could spend drunken hours talking to each other in Raymond and Peter quotes, doubling over in laughter at lines we'd heard a hundred times already. Don't let this happen to you.


OK that's it then. Later!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Wow - where does the time go?

Hairy Chapter - Eyes / Can't Get Through (1970-1971)

"Eyes" from 1970 and "Can't Get Through" from 1971 comprise Hairy Chapter's total recorded output, and both albums are on this disc. "Eyes" is competent psychedelic rock, but "Can't Get Through" recorded a year later with producer Dieter Dierks (later to find fame with The Scorpions) is possibly the best psychedelic album to come out of the early 70's German underground scene. If loud, endless, feedback-drenched guitar solos accompanied by lyrics sung in broken English ("Reality has got to die" according to singer Harry Unte) sounds like something you might be interested in, you need to hear this triumph of uninhibited guitar debauchery by a long-forgotten German band. Guitarist Harry Titlbach was a Teutonic Guitar God whose likes have not been seen since. As Dag Erik Asbjornsen said in his book "Cosmic Dreams at Play", Can't Get Through is "one of those screaming diz, dumbo IQ-reducing monsters that some people can never get enough of."

Part 1 Part 2

Goodthunder - Goodthunder (1972)

Not much information on this one! Goodthunder seems to have been a L.A. band whose only album was released by Elektra in 1972, produced by Paul Rothchild (Doors, Love, Crabby Appleton). This is a hard rocking affair with some progressive elements, great organ and guitar throughout. (Vinyl Rip)


Brainticket - Celestial Ocean (1974)
Brainticket were among the important pioneers of early psychedelic and spaced out cosmic releases "Cottonwoodhill", "Psychonaut" & of course "Celestial Ocean". Brainticket is actually the brainchild of Joel Vandroogenbroeck of Switzerland with other musicians taking part on different albums. On "Celestial Ocean" Joel is joined by Carole Muriel with her cosmic voice and Barney Palm (percussion). Music is really early Krautrock mixed with a fair amount of analog and spacey keyboards. Songs definitely explore the outer reaches of your mind with some pretty trippy moments all around. Instrumentation is also quite varied with loads of NASA-like space sound bites and some great percussion. This excellent space journey now can be yours thanks for the folks at Purple Pyramid Records who have released this gem for the first time on CD... A journey of a lifetime. (


Fairport Convention - Liege And Lief Outtakes (1969)

Can't get enough of the classic Fairport Convention line-up? Well me neither. As the album name says, this bootleg is a CD of outtakes from the Liege And Lief sessions recorded at Sound Techniques, London, from September to November 1969. Two versions each of Tam Lin, Crazy Man Michael, and Matty Groves, three untitled instrumentals, Quiet Joys of Brotherhood, Come All Ye, and Ballad of Easy Rider.

Part 1 Part 2

Country Lane - Substratum (1973)

Country Lane's only album was initially released in 1973. This Swiss band led by the keyboardist/guitarist/singer Raymond Amey, helped by keyboardist O.Maire, guitarist F.Von Kaenel, bass player G.Duella and drummer J.F. Donze, created an original rock music, mixing heavy influences like Deep Purple and progressive ones (like Nice and the others english progressive bands). Straight rock moments, dreamy atmospheres, nice vocals (in English) are the base of an excellent seventies album, full of freshness and sincerity. (Martin Pruckner)


Mythos - Mythos (1971)

The debut album by Germany’s Mythos is a pure unadulterated classic space-prog album draped over 5 lush tracks. There are truly many cosmic charms to this space bracelet with some wild nubulas, space vibes and jams. Vocals are slightly distorted when used and somewhat modulated giving the listen a real outer worldly space feel. Mythos are clearly lost somewhere in the Cosmic Jokers / Ash Ra Temple camp with dreamy psych/folk/prog landscapes. Mythos manages to create some pretty heavenly space atmospheres with some fantastic synthesizer, flute, spacey guitar and mellotron work throughout. For me this album ranks as a complete album and one of my personal favs from the space-prog category. (Wonderful World Of Progressive Rock)


Various Artists - The Krautrock Archive Vol. 1

No big krautrock names on this compilation, but faithful 8 Days visitors will already have the tracks by Golem and Cozmic Corridors. Includes a track from the Galactic Explorers album "Epitaph for Venus", which album I will post sometime. (EDIT: I have already posted Epitaph For Venus, on Nov. 28th!) Of special interest are tracks by Temple, The Astral Army, and Fuerrote, bands that I've never heard of. Great stuff. EDIT: Michael from France was kind enough to send me a set of covers for this:


Mani Neumier - Käseschachtel AKA Privat (1993)

Not one English language site had any info on this one, apparently a limited release issued in a round wooden Käseschachtel - I was able to figure out that Käseschachtel means 'cheese-box'! Basically this sounds like a Mani Neumier solo album, and that means that there is mostly drumming on it. Lots of drumming. And some percussion. There are other-worldly voices, mysterious sounds, chimes, gongs and whatnot to accompany Herr Neumier as he pounds the skins, and since Mani is fantastically inventive and creative as a drummer, this all adds up to a real trippy CD. EDIT: Numerous people have e-mailed me to let me know that this is actually a special edition of an album called "Privat". So if you already have that, not much point downloading, unless you want the scans! Thanks to everyone who clued me in about this.

Part 1 Part 2

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967)

Beefheart's first proper studio album is a much more accessible, pop-inflected brand of blues-rock than the efforts that followed in the late '60s -- which isn't to say that it's exactly normal and straightforward. Featuring Ry Cooder on guitar, this is blues-rock gone slightly askew, with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals from Van Vliet, and more doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk-rock influences than he would employ on his more avant-garde outings. "Zig Zag Wanderer," "Call on Me," and "Yellow Brick Road" are some of his most enduring and riff-driven songs, although there's plenty of weirdness on tracks like "Electricity" and "Abba Zaba." (Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide) This is the 1999 re-issue with seven bonus tracks.

Part 1 Part 2

Jethro Tull - Benefit (1970)

Jethro Tull's third release was Benefit. Indeed the third time is the charm. Ian Anderson's vocals were getting stronger and more dominating, while his flute playing maintained its unfailing authority. Anderson remarks in the liner notes that his writing was getting darker and that he realized thirty two years later that he was being cynical in reference to being on the road and away from home. His feelings regarding the music industry were coming through as well.

"To Cry You A Song" was the strongest introduction to the fresh and new formula that they would continue to follow and develop for the rest of their long and fruitful careers. Although the group's love of blues and jazz remained evident, they were leaning heavier towards more rock and folk arrangements, which allowed them to reach a much wider audience. "Inside" was another song that was to rapidly become a trademark of the Jethro Tull sound with Anderson's flute taking a lead role and Martin Barre strumming a soft acoustic guitar in the background. Although Barre rarely remained in the background on any song, he was now more comfortable in his new surroundings and showed all of his colors on this album. This new formula was to delight listeners worldwide. The group's diversity pleased those that loved to rock and the other segment of listeners that enjoyed the more folk, classical, and ethnic sounds that they had offered on their previous release Stand Up. Ian Anderson was becoming the true court jester onstage and the consummate leader. This was a position that was solidified on this album and one that he would never relinquish. (


OK. Gotta go! See you next week.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hello from Idaho, USA!

Four Searchable Rock & Roll Reference Books

Download this, and put the folder anywhere you want, then open the folder and find the HTML file called "library" and make a shortcut to it on your desktop. You now have fully searchable copies of four terrific reference books -
  • The Tapestry of Delights: British Beat, R & B, Psychedelic and Progressive Rock 1963 - 1976
  • Fuzz, Acid & Flowers: American Garage, Psychedelic & Hippie Rock 1964 - 1975
  • Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Canadian, Australasian & Latin American Rock & Pop 1963 - 1975
  • Adrift In The Ether: The Current State Of The British Underground
Anybody who remembers when Tapestry Of Delights and Fuzz, Acid & Flowers were online can tell you that these books are just about too cool. I haven't used those other two books yet, but I'm sure they're just as good. Anyway, you need these books I'm pretty sure!


Jefferson Airplane Loves You - 3 CD Box Set (1990)

The triple CD (or cassette) box set Jefferson Airplane Loves You came out at a time when major record labels were rushing out deluxe sets of about every meaningful artist of the '60s and '70s. Most of those sets hid self-indulgent, inflated "best of" collections of previously released material with a couple of alternate mixes and live tracks to lure in the fans. Loves You has some general appeal (although slimmer "best of" collections are available and cater better to the casual listener who wants to hear "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love"), but it is clearly aimed at the fan. Disc 1 covers the early years up to the group's second LP Surrealistic Pillow. Early singles by Marty Balin and Grace Slick are included, but the real treat consists of nine live tracks (a total of 43 minutes, a full album's worth!) from a concert in May 1967, 18 months before the group's first live set, Bless Its Pointed Little Head, was recorded. Disc 2 covers the years between After Bathing at Baxter's and Volunteers. It kicks off with a 12-minute alternate version of "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" (a psychedelic peak), a few album tracks that were left off and an early version of Frank Zappa's "Would You Like a Snack" recorded with the Mothers of Invention, along with classic album cuts. Disc 3 culls material from the Volunteers album up to 1972's 30 Seconds over Winterland, racing through the Airplane's weaker late records. The highlights come from the quadraphonic version of the LP Volunteers, which featured very different mixes (even alternate versions in some cases). No repeats (except for "White Rabbit" included in its original version and a live one), great unreleased material and the absence of anything from the group's short-lived late-'80s comeback make this box set a must-have for fans. ~ François Couture, All Music Guide

Disc 1:
Part 1
Part 2
Disc 2:
Part 1
Part 2
Disc 3:
Part 1
Part 2

Cardeilhac - Cardeilhac (1971)

I can't really detect too much prog on this only album by obscure Swiss band Cardeilhac. It's not stunningly original, but it's good old fashioned, straight-ahead rock, obviously influenced by British bands of the period, like maybe Deep Purple, though Cardeilhac is a little more quirky. Good songs, lots of energy, lot of great guitar and organ, and the vocalist does a good job. Like I said, originality may be lacking, but it's not overly derivative and deserves a listen, that's for sure.


A. R. & Machines - Die Grüne Reise (1971)

As lead guitarist for the beat-era Rattles, Achim Reichel was one of Germany's rock pioneers. Military service drew him from that band, and upon return he continued in the pop world with Wonderland. At the start of the 70's however, his interests in Eastern philosophies coincided with the Progressive music that was then in vogue. Teaming with lyricist Frank Dostal, first up was the psychedelic (and Beatles-esque) Wonderland Band. Recorded with a cast of Hamburg musicians, it gave a glimpse at where Reichel was going. Yet the story really begins in 1971 with The Green Journey, the first album under the moniker A.R. & Machines. Billed as a "soundtrack to the intended motion picture", it certainly is a trip! Reichel recorded the album by himself, adding voice, percussion and electronic effects, with Dostal providing the lyrics. "Machines" refers to the tape recorders that make up Reichel's signature "echo-guitar". He layers guitar line over guitar line to hypnotic effect, and effectively predates just about everyone that came after (Fripp, Gottsching etc.). The album certainly reveals a hippie naiveté of the era, but that should really be seen as its strength: bluesy, mantric and certainly psychedelic, the album is Reichel s own twist on Krautrock. It culminated in the whacked-out "Truth and Probability", where Reichel layers his voice through the tape machines.


Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye - Tribute To Roky Erickson (1990)

More than a dozen different artists, some famous, some not so much, and some now all but forgotten, assembled for this tribute that was made for the purpose of helping Mr. Erickson financially, due to some legal troubles he was having at the time. It's fun to hear ZZ Top and Jesus and the Mary Chain each give their interpretations of "Reverberation (Doubt)". R.E.M. is on hand for "I Walked With A Zombie", Doug Sahm & Sons do an amazing version of "You're Gonna Miss me", the Butthole Surfers really shake it with "Earthquake", Julian Cope does well with his take on "I Have Always Been Here Before". There are terrific interpretations by some 'lesser' bands like Judybats, Bongwater, Thin White Rope, Sister Double Happiness, and others. Altogether a real nice album. I should note that this is a cassette rip that I made years ago, and the tracks were different from the CD, with non-CD tracks by Angry Samoans and Mighty Lemon Drops. (Bitrate 160)

Part 1
Part 2

Free - Free At Last Stage (Bootleg 1972)

Despite the awful name they gave this thing, this is a real good recording of a performance at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA, on April 22, 1972, during Free's Reunion Tour. Paul Kossoff, Andy Fraser, Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke.

1. The Hunter
2. Fire And Water
3. Ride On A Pony
4. Be My Friend
5. Catch A Train
6. Hold On
7. Little Bit Of Love
8. Mr. Big
9. All Right Now
10. Travellin' Man

Part 1
Part 2

Bayon - Bayon (1977)

Bayon was a band from what was then East Germany, and the music on this album can only be described as beautiful. How to categorize the music? Hell, I dont know - maybe a kind of baroque/folk/ethnic/prog wouldn't be too far off. Composed of two Germans and two guys from Cambodia playing hand drums, violin, cello, acoustic guitar, and some fine electric guitar now and then, these dudes make music that is warm and uplifting. A really nice album.


Thirsty Moon - You'll Never Come Back (1973)

Always essentially the project of the Drogies brothers, Thirsty Moon came into being in September 1971 as the amalgamation of D.R.P. (Drogies Rock Project) and Shakespears (apparently a jazz-soul band), resulting in a very big group (seven to eight members) performing complex rock that used unusual jazz structures as its base. Obviously influenced by the likes of Colosseum, the Chicago brass-rock scene and earlier German bands like Xhol and Organisation, Thirsty Moon created a music with great dynamics, use of heavy and spacious structures, unconventional songs and arrangements, and above all amazing musicianship. Both their debut and, the curiously titled, YOU'LL NEVER COME BACK offer some of the finest Krautrock. Both tripping out with percussively intensive Krautrock tripping, bizarre songs, and ventures into the cosmos, beyond jazz-fusion, beyond everything. Notably, on the second side of YOU'LL NEVER COME BACK, the feel is very close to Kollektiv. (The Crack In The Cosmic Egg)


OK then - see you next week!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

OK here are this week's offerings. Thanks to everyone who has left a comment or e-mailed me!

The Velvet Underground - 1969: The Velvet Underground Live

Originally a two-record set, this live recording has been split and released as separate albums, volume 1 and volume 2. No matter, it's an essential document of one of the finest and most innovative rock bands of all time. 1969: Live catches the band at a juncture in their career, still reeling from the departure of John Cale and settling into the addition of multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule, who would help the band find their rocking heart. Thank god that Maureen Tucker was still around--her inspired, primal drumming makes this recording such a delight. Her quiet thumping on "Lisa Says" is understated and touching, and her timpanic, thunderous rolls on "New Age" are nothing short of awesome. Lou Reed is particularly loose and chatty, more comfortable with his voice as he stretches to hit some tender passages. And the version of "Rock and Roll" here is perhaps the finest of all it's many versions, epic in scope and focused in intensity. (

Vol. 1
Part 1 Part 2

Vol. 2
Part 1 Part 2

Drosselbart - Drosselbart (1970)

An extremely obscure early Krautrock band, Drosselbart played a heavy psychedelic rock, with lots of weird touches, heavy wedges of organ and strange songs in German. Very little is known about them. Drawing influences from both American and British 60's styles, they steeped their music with lots of Teutonic strangeness, akin to early Tomorrow's Gift or Eulenspygel. The German lyrics were well-written, very doomy and aggressive, dealing with with religious symbols and mankind's vicious nature. Although admittedly dated, Drosselbart's music is still remarkably volatile and surprising, and is one of the earliest examples of the stranger side of Krautrock psychedelia.


Apocalypse - Apocalypse (1970)

A German band with a name like Apocalypse, you might expect a lot of Sturm und Drang, but this fine album is actually at the pop (not the throwaway kind) end of the krautrock spectrum, full of excellent harmony laden pop tinged by psychedelia. The album has a lush, full sound - it was produced by Giorgio Morodor. With some great guitar sounds and some fine songs, the whole proceeding is very Anglo-sounding, and the group was obviously influenced by The Beatles.


Eddie Boyd With Fleetwood Mac - 7936 South Rhodes (1968)

Recorded in London in January 1968 with three members of the early lineup of Fleetwood Mac (the one that played blues, not pop/rock): Peter Green (guitar), John McVie (bass), and Mick Fleetwood (drums). It's an adequate setting for Boyd's straight Chicago piano blues, going heavier on the slow-to-mid-tempo numbers than the high-spirited ones, though Green is a far more sympathetic accompanist than the rhythm section. (Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide)


Erna Schmidt - Erna Schmidt Live '69 - '71

This release by Erna Schmidt, on the Garden Of Delights label, represents the first and only release from the band, recorded live over the years 1969 - 1971 (though mostly from 1970). The line up for most of this set is: Hubert Stutz on guitar; Hartmut Mau on flute, sax, oboe and ocarina; Walter Laible on bass, and Wolfgang Mathias on drums and percussion. The sound quality on this disk is so clear that one only realizes that it is a live recording when the audience applauds. The pieces on this live document are part composition, part improv, but everything meshes so well, it's hard to tell.

Hubert Stutz plays some fantastic, taut, bluesy leads, making this an air-guitarists delight. His style does owe a lot to Hendrix, but not only Hendrix, as I think of Eric Clapton at times at well. As Cream is mentioned as an "example" to follow, this is not surprising. There are so many great moments here -- the high energy of "Ein Tag Aus Dem Leben Des Menschen P," for example. A hard blues rocker where Stutz just lets loose... as does drummer Wolfgang Mathias, who gets to solo about two-thirds of the way in. "Rulaman" which is a foot-tapper -- nay, a foot-dancer -- with Middle Eastern phrasing. The Led Zeppelin-esque "La Folle D'Espagne." "Erna Schmidt" is a signature piece that hints at all the directions the band will be taking with the rest of the tracks, including both rock and pastoral passages, giving focus to guitars and flutes, without overshadowing the contributions by bass and drums. This track itself builds and builds into a flurry of hard driving sound. "Woischwiemoin" is another standout track, a slow, bluesy number.

There were moments on this release where I also thought of The Guess Who, The Beatles, and Jethro Tull, though with the latter, I have to admit it was mainly due to the flute playing of Hartmut Mau (on "La Folle D'Espange"). "Kleines Idyll" begins with Mau on flute, creating a very pastoral setting; this made me think of The Guess Who's "Share The Land," but this quickly goes off into a different direction. A quickly paced wah-wahed guitar workout, with flute just audible in the background, concluding in a manner that hints at "Strawberry Fields," though I don't think this is deliberate, as the The Guess Whoness of it also remains. Mau's flute is very sweet, and very clear.

Erna Schmidt had the stuff, that's for sure. This album is proof of that. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this, and recommend it not only to Krautrock fans, but also to fans of music in general. (Stephanie Sollow)

Part 1 Part 2

Madison Dyke - Zeitmaschine (1977)

The only album from German band Madison Dyke is complex progressive rock with occasional hard rock tendencies, similar in a way to Jane, or maybe Novalis. This has pretty much what lovers of 1970's German progressive rock are looking for - strong tunes based around string synths, acoustic and Floydian electric guitars, and flute.


Arthur Lee & Love - Black Beauty & Rarities

This bootleg does diehard Love fans a considerable service by gathering Arthur Lee's rarest work together in one place. Holding by far the most interest are the first nine cuts, which assemble the rare pre-Love cuts from 1963 - 65 that Lee was involved with as writer, performer, producer, or some combination thereof. This includes the tame soul instrumentals by the L.A.G.'s in 1963; the far more confident American Four tracks from 1964, highlighted by the exuberant "Twist and Shout" ripoff "Luci Baines" (with Lee vocals); the Curtis Mayfield-ish soul of Ronnie & the Pamona Casuals; the Spectorish production of Little Ray's "I Been Trying"; and the nifty soul of Rosa Lee Brooks' 1964 single "My Diary," which features Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Tracks 10 - 19 are a 1973 unreleased album by Lee and/or Love, Black Beauty, which is typical of the music Lee was recording in the early 1970's. There's also an unreleased 1977 cut, and a couple of decent versions of "Feathered Fish" (which Lee wrote in the mid-'60s, although Love didn't record it) from 1994 that show a bit of the old energy. (Bitrate - 160)


Triumvirat - Illusions On A Double Dimple (1974)

"Illusions On A Double Dimple" is a breathtaking masterpiece and perhaps the best of all Triumvirat's albums. “Illusions” is essentially 2 epic tracks and stands as highly creative in scope and ambition with its fusion of classical, pop, rock and even some jazz elements. Most discerning listeners will love this album with continuously shifting musical interludes and dazzling mood and tempos shifts. The songs themselves are brilliantly written and the Harvest Records Remastered version brings out the deep tonal sophistication and true analog feel the album is rich in. Band line up is Jurgen Fritz (keyboards), Hans Bathelt (drums), and Helmut Kollen (guitar, bass, vocals). The overall sound of the album is very crisp and fresh sounding not sounding like an old 1970’s release. I hear lots of elements on “Illusions” with allusions to ELP (Obviously) , Beatles, ELO, and YES. This is an album that either you love to death or I guess don’t get, but I definitely love this album all the way thru and will take this one to the desert Island.
(Wonderful World Of Progressive Rock)


That's it, then. See you next week.