Frank Zappa Song By Song Thread (1966-96)*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zoot Marimba, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Don “Sugarcane” Harris, I’m On Your Case:
    [​IMG]

    We revisit Mr Sugarcane himself for his effort I’m On Your Case, released November 11, 1974 on MPS. Produced by Sugarcane himself, the album leans more into blues and soul than prior albums. Besides Sugarcane himself on vocals/electric violin/bass/organ/percussion, we have Dewey Terry on electric piano/bass/harpsichord/percussion, Paul Lagos retuning on drums, guitarists Randy Resnick and James Bradshaw, drummer Clifton “Foo Foo” Eddie, tenor saxophonist Richard Alpanap, trumpeter Bill Sprague, backing vocalist/percussionist Dalrie “Sunshine” Vail, and percussionist Elsie Lewis.
    I’ll admit I don’t like it as much as previous albums, but of course, it’s still Sugarcane. Love his voice and violin playing, so I still find some good in this album. That the band is as solid as ever helps, and the material is at least good.
    I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting place with Sugarcane, but if you’re already a fan, it’s worth getting.
     
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  2. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Awesome!
     
  3. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Junior Marvin/Junior Hanson, Magic Dragon:
    [​IMG]

    Hey, a Wailer! This is Junior Marvin’s pre-Wailers band Hanson (no, not the “Mmmmbop” one) their second and final album Magic Dragon, released in 1974 on Manticore, a label some of you know for having had ELP. Despite that connection, this is actually more a funk/rock record. Besides Marvin on guitar and vocals, we have our very own Andre Lewis on organ and clavinet, future Whitesnake (from their blues rock days)/Black Sabbath/Brian May/Gary Moore bassist Neil Murray, guitarist Marlo Henderson, Cassandra and “M” on backing vocals, Brother James on congas, and drummer Glen LeFleur.
    Gotta day, this was a surprisingly enjoyable effort, with some nice takes on funk rock with a dose of Hendrix-esque psychedelia. It’s not an easy record to find, but it’s definitely worth looking into.
     
  4. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Roxy Music, Siren:
    [​IMG]

    We revisit Roxy Music and their fifth studio album Siren, released October 24, 1975 on Island/Atco. Produced by Chris Thomas, this album is best known for the band’s hit “Love Is The Drug”.
    Wow man, Roxy Music does it again, this is a really stellar listen. The band really was New Wave before New Wave, melding the art and pop together flawlessly, without compromising on either side. Bryan Ferry sounds as good as ever, Gustafson’s bass lines are impeccable (and of course, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame took him off, go figure). And of course our man Eddie Jobson, dude is a marvel. He was this band’s Ian Underwood, he really was, and the band was never the same without him. Paul and Andy are rock solid as well. Really, it was such a good overall band.
    I highly recommend this album to any fan of glam or art rock, it’s an excellent record.
     
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  5. ^Brian Ferry's "vocal personality" must be one of the oddest in the entire RnR world... He always reminds me of... Terry Bozzio doing one of his funny Zappa character voices! :laugh:
     
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  6. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    I can see that.
     
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  7. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Freddie Hubbard, Liquid Love:
    [​IMG]

    We now cover Freddie Hubbard’s Liquid Love, released in July of 1975 on Colombia. Produced by Hubbard himself, the album’s lineup consists of Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, our very own Ian on Moog synthesizer, keyboardist George Cables, guitarist Ray “Who You Gonna Call?” Parker*, Jr., tenor saxophonist/flutist Carl Randall Jr, trombonist Al Hall Jr, bassist Henry Franklin*, drummer Carl Burnett*, and percussionists Myuta Correa and Buck Clark.
    I saw that this got lukewarm reviews so I wasn’t expecting much from it. Gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised by the album. It’s fairly dated in certain aspects such as the synth (sorry Ian), but overall, it’s a nice melding of funk/soul, hard bop, and fusion. Hubbard really sounds inspired on here, and the remaining players are generally very strong and compliment Hubbard as well as the material, which ranges from good to great.
    I can give this album a solid recommendation overall.

    (*track 2 instead features Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Chuck Rainey, and Spider Webb)
     
  8. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Billy Cobham, A Funky Thide Of Sings:
    [​IMG]


    First off, no, I don’t know why the orangutan is looking at us like that. Second, this is Billy Cobham’s A Funky Thide of Sings, released in 1975 on Atlantic. Produced by Cobham, Mark Meyerson, Donald Elfman, and Naomi Yoshii, the album's lineup consists of Cobham on drums/percussion/synthesizer, Michael Brecker and Larry Schneider on saxophones, Randy Brecker and our very own Walt Fowler on trumpets, Tom "Bones" Malone and Glenn Ferris on trombones (the former also playing piccolo), Milcho Leviev on keyboards, John Scofield on guitar, Alex Blake on bass, and Rebop Kwaku Baah (who some of you might know from his time with Traffic and Can) on percussion.
    While not up to the standard of Spectrum or Crosswinds, this is a highly engaging effort, with brilliant work by Cobham as always. Very funky, jazzy, the grooves impeccable, the musicality enriching the arrangements throughout. And the horn section, consisting of not only a Fowler brother but many Zappa alumni, adds a real punch to the material, highly energetic and precise in its delivery. Rebop gels very well with Cobham on percussion, bringing a funky worldliness to the grooves. The remaining members deliver very solid performances as well, making this a very enjoyable record.
    Awesome record and essential to any fan of Cobham and fusion drumming.
     
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  9. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Down And Dirty Duck Soundtrack:
    [​IMG]

    Let's get down and dirty with Down And Dirty Duck, a 1974/75 adult animated comedy starring Mark and Howard, who also provide the soundtrack, which in turn also features Don, Pons, And Aynsley. Basically the Flo and Eddie band without Frank or Ian. Nice to see they were still hanging out and playing together.
    The movie is basically Fritz the Cat vs 200 Motels. Very raunchy, surreal, nonsensical film about a dude who accidentally causes one of his company’s customers to die and then gets left with the titular duck, and he is then able to go anywhere he wants. The film is not “good”, but it’s an entertaining watch in the right frame of mind, and is 70 minutes long so not too bad a sit. Plus, Mark and Howard make great comedic actors and voice actors, so they raise the D material into B-. The soundtrack is full of raucous rock and pop delivered with the tongue in cheek irreverence we’ve come to expect from them. It’s worth a watch, can be found on YouTube (though sign in to watch).
     
  10. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Forgot to mention that the director, Charles Swenson, was an animator on 200 Motels, and would later work on shows like Aaahhh!!!Real Monsters and Rugrats. The latter makes sense since co-creator Gábor Csupó is a HUGE fan of Frank, and his Zappa records are what helped him learn English growing up. Klasky-Csupo’s logo/scroll/art style? Pure Cal.


    And famed B movie mogul Roger Corman produced this movie as well.
     
  11. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Mick Ronson, Play, Don't Worry:
    [​IMG]


    This is Mick Ronson's second solo effort Play Don't Worry, released in January of 1975 on RCA. Produced by Ronson himself, the album consists largely of covers rearranged to fit into his style. Besides Ronson on guitar/vocals/bass/harmonica/piano/synthesizer/clavinet/drums, we have Aynsley, Tony Newman, and Ritchie Dharma on drums, Trevor Bolder on bass and horn, Jeff Daley on saxophones and flutes, and Mike Garson on piano. Aiding the band is Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter (backing vocals on "Girl Can't Help It"), Paul Francis (drums on the title track), Neil Kernan (ARP synthesizer on "Billy Porter" and "This Is For You"), John Mealing (piano on "Woman"), Sid Sax (string conductor on "Empty Bed (Io Me Ne Andrei)"), and Vicky Silva, Miquel Brown, and Beverly Baxton (backing vocals on "Angel No.9" and "Woman").
    This right here is what Pinups should have been (indeed, "White Light/White Heat"'s backing track comes from those sessions; had it been on Pinups, it would be the best track by a longshot). A creative record, really powerful rock throughout, Ronson's musical chops are on full display. Aynsley and Newman prove once again to be a very effective drumming team, with Bolder holding down the bass quite nicely. Garson, what can you say? Fabulous pianist. I actually like this more than the first, and can give it a very strong recommendation to any Bowie or Ronson fan.
     
  12. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    Bozzio's solo vocal on "Wild Love" ("a quiet place maybe...") does sound sort of like an exaggerated Ferry.
     
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  13. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Time to update the list!
    1. Canned Heat, Canned Heat (Henry Vestine) [1967]
    2. Canned Heat, Boogie With Canned Heat (Vestine) [1968]
    3. Canned Heat, Living The Blues (Vestine) [1968]
    4. Canned Heat, Hallelujah (Vestine, Elliot Ingber) [1969]
    5. The Hamilton Face Band, Hamilton Face Band (Ruth Komanoff-Underwood) [1969]
    6. Canned Heat, Vintage (Vestine) [1970]
    7. Hamilton Face Band, Ain’t Got No Time (Ruth) [1970]
    8. John Mayall, USA Union (Sugarcane) [1970]
    9. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Sugarcane (Sugarcane) [1970]
    10. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Keep on Driving (Sugarcane) [1971]
    11. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Fiddler On The Rock (Sugarcane) [1971]
    12. Nolan Porter, No Apologies (Lowell George, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black) [1971]
    13. Bob Smith, The Visit (Don Preston) [1971]
    14. T. Rex, Electric Warrior (Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan) [1971]
    15. Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker, Hooker n Heat (Vestine) [1971]
    16. Canned Heat, Live At Topanga Corral (Vestine) [1971]
    17. Canned Heat, Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (Vestine) [1971]
    18. Maxayn, Maxayn (Andre Lewis) [1972]
    19. Nolan Porter, Nolan (George, Estrada, Black) [1972]
    20. Domenic Troiano, Domenic Troiano (Bunk Gardner, Buzz Gardner) [1972]
    21. Nicholas Greenwood, Cold Cuts (Bunk) [1972]
    22. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sometime In New York City (Live Jam/tracks 3-6 featuring Frank, Mark and Howard, Ian, Don Preston, Bob Harris #1, Jim Pons, Dunbar) [1972]
    23. T. Rex, The Slider (Mark And Howard) [1972]
    24. Pure Food & Drug Act, Choice Cuts (Sugarcane) [1972]
    25. New Violin Summit (Sugarcane, Ponty) [1972]
    26. Roxy Music, Stranded (Jobson) [1973]
    27. Buddy Miles, Chapter VII (Lewis) [1973]
    28. Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Listen (Lewis) [1973]
    29. Maxayn, Mindful (Lewis) [1973]
    30. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Sugar Cane’s Got the Blues (Sugarcane) [1973]
    31. Canned Heat, The New Age (Vestine) [1973]
    32. Canned Heat, One More River to Cross (Vestine) [1973]
    33. Mick Ronson, Slaughter on 10th Avenue (Dunbar) [1974]
    34. Roxy Music, Country Life (Jobson) [1974]
    35. Howdy Moon, self titled album (Lowell George, Roy Estrada) [1974]
    36. Luis Gasca, Born to Love You [1974]
    37. Billy Cobham, Crosswinds (George Duke) [1974]
    38. Maxayn, Bail Out For Fun! (Lewis) [1974]
    39. Roger McGuinn, Peace on You (Mark And Howard) [1974]
    40. Dave Mason, Dave Mason (Sal Marquez) [1974]
    41. Herbie Mann, London Underground (Dunbar) [1974]
    42. Freddie Hubbard, High Energy (Ian Underwood) [1974]
    43. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Cup Full Of Dreams (Sugarcane) [1974]
    44. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, I’m On Your Case (Sugarcane) [1974]
    45. Junior Hanson, Magic Dragon (Lewis)
    46. Roxy Music, Siren (Jobson) [1975]
    47. Freddie Hubbard, Liquid Love (Ian) [1975]
    48. Billy Cobham, A Funky Thide Of Sings (Walt Fowler) [1975]
    49. Down And Dirty Duck Soundtrack (Preston, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan, Pons, Dunbar) [1975]
    50. Mick Ronson, Play, Don’t Worry (Dunbar) [1975]
    51. Nils Lofgren, self titled (Dunbar) [1975]
    52. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Keyzop (Sugarcane) [1975]
    53. Mallard, Mallard (Art Tripp) [1975]
    54. Journey, Look Into The Future (Dunbar) [1976]
    55. Jean-Luc Ponty, Aurora (Ponty, T. Fowler) [1976]
    56. Roxy Music, Viva! [1976]
    57. Spirit, Farther Along (Ian) [1976]
    58. Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage (Ponty, T.Fowler, Allan Zavod) [1976]
    59. Grand Funk, Good Singin, Good Playin (Produced by Zappa) [1976]
    60. Billy Cobham, Life & Times (Duke, Zavod) [1976]
    61. Air Pocket, Fly On (T. Fowler, Bruce Fowler, W. Fowler, Thompson) [1976]
    62. Stephen Stills, Illegal Stills (Mark And Howard) [1976]
    63. Ian Hunter, All American Space Boy (Dunbar) [1976]
    64. Flo and Eddie, Moving Targets (Mark, Howard, Ian) [1976]
    65. T. Rex, Futuristic Dragon (Mark and Howard) [1976]
    66. Nils Lofgren, Cry Tough (Dunbar) [1976]
    67. Carmen MacRae, Can’t Hide Love (Ian) [1976]
    68. Sammy Hagar, Nine On A Ten Scale (Dunbar) [1976]
    69. Alphonso Johnson, Moonshadow (Ian) [1976]
    70. Marathon Man Soundtrack (Ian) [1976]
    71. George Duke, Liberated Fantasies (Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ruth) [1976]
    72. Jean-Luc Ponty, Live in Hamburg (Ponty) [1976]
    73. Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage (Ponty, T. Fowler) [1976]
    74. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Flashin’ Time (Sugarcane) [1976]
    75. Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band, Bat Chain Puller (Beefheart, Denny Walley) [1976]
    76. Seals & Croft, Sudan Village (Ralph Humphrey) [1976]
    77. Chunk, Ernie, & Novi, Chunk, Ernie, & Novi (Ian) [1977]
    78. George Duke, From Me to You (Duke, Glenn Ferris) [1977]
    79. Demon Seeds Soundtrack (Ian) [1977]
    80. Journey, Next (Dunbar) [1977]
    81. Jean-Luc Ponty, Enigmatic Ocean (Ponty, Zavod) [1977]
    82. Little Feat, Time Loves A Hero (Lowell) [1977]
    83. Genesis, Seconds Out (Thompson) [1977]
    84. Quincy, Jones, Roots (Ian) [1977]
    85. Mandré, Mandré (Lewis) [1977]
    86. Alphonso Johnson, Spellbound (Thompson) [1977]
    87. Journey, Infinity (Dunbar) [1978]
    88. U.K., self titled (Eddie Jobson) [1978]
    89. Lynda Carter*, Portrait (Humphrey) (*yes, the same one who played Wonder Woman) [1978]
    90. George Duke, Reach For It (Duke) [1978]
    91. George Duke, Don't Let Go (Duke) [1978]
    92. The Brecker Brothers, Heavy Metal Be-Bop (Bozzio) [1978]
    93. Jean-Luc Ponty, Cosmic Messenger (Ponty, Zavod) [1978]
    94. Billy Cobham, Inner Conflicts (Duke, Ruth Underwood) [1978]
    95. Steve Hackett, Please Don’t Touch (T.Fowler, Chester Thompson) [1978]
    96. David Bowie, Stage (Adrian Belew) [1978]
    97. Alice Cooper, From the Inside (Mark And Howard) [1978]
    98. Ambrosia, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled (Ian, Ruth) [1978]
    99. Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela, Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela (Ian) [1978]
    100. Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Beefheart, B.Fowler, Tripp) [1978]
    101. Lao Schifrin, Gypsy (Ian) [1978]
    102. Barbara Streisand, Songbird (Ian) [1978]
    103. Little Feat, Waiting For Columbus (Lowell) [1978]
    104. Mandré, Mandré Two (Lewis) [1978]
    105. Karen Alexander, Voyager (Humphrey) [1978]
    106. U.K., Danger Money (Jobson, Terry Bozzio) [1979]
    107. Jean-Luc Ponty, Live (Ponty, Zavod) [1979]
    108. David Bowie, Lodger (Belew) [1979]
    109. Big Sonny and the Lo Boys, In Heat (Black) [1979]
    110. Apocalypse Now Soundtrack (Preston) [1979]
    111. The Residents, Eskimo (Preston) [1979]
    112. Jefferson Starship, Freedom at Point Zero (Dunbar) [1979]
    113. Lowell George, Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here (Lowell) [1979]
    114. Peggy Lee, Close Enough For Love (Ian) [1979]
    115. Little Feat, Down On The Farm (Lowell) [1979]
    116. George Duke, Follow the Rainbow (Duke, Nappy) [1979]
    117. George Duke, Master Of The Game (Duke, Nappy) [1979]
    118. Tony Banks, A Curious Feeling (Thompson) [1979]
    119. Jean-Luc Ponty, A Taste for Passion (Ponty, Zavod) [1979]
    120. Freddie Hubbard, The Love Connection (Thompson) [1979]
    121. Lalo Schifrin, No One Home (Ian) [1979]
    122. The Warriors Soundtrack (Ian) [1979]
    123. Mandré, M3000 (Lewis) [1979]
    124. Ray Pizzi, The Love Letter (Humphrey) [1979]
    125. Leroy Hutson, Unforgettable (Thompson) [1979]
    126. David Pritchard, City Dreams (Thompson) [1979]
    So 76 albums left to cover!
     
  14. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Nils Lofgren, Nils Lofgren:
    [​IMG]


    I'm going blind this time, this is Nils Lofgren (Neil Young/Crazy Horse/Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band)‘s self-titled debut, released in 1975 on A&M. Produced by David Briggs, the album came about after the breakup of his grin Grin. Backing Nils (guitars /piano/vocals) is Aynsley on drums and Wornell Jones on drums, with Stu Gardner (who co-wrote the Cosby Show theme “Kiss Me”) providing backing vocals on select tracks.
    I didn’t know this album going in, but man, this is good stuff. Nils shows himself not only a talented Rock And Roll guitarist but also a gifted singer-songwriter, bringing a casual, free-spirited voice to what would come to be known as heartland rock. Aynsley and Jones provide a strong support to Nils. I always heard about how Nils was capable of more than he showed in the E Street Band, and I can definitely agree with that now. Although Cry Tough is still one of the dumbest ducking names for an album,
    I can enthusiastically recommend this album and I will revisit it in the future.
     
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  15. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Keyzop:
    [​IMG]


    Here, we arrive at Don "Sugarcane" Harris' Keyzop, released in 1975 on MPS. Produced by MPS, Sugarcane is backed here by former partner Dewey Terry on keyboards and arrangements, Volker Kriegel on guitar, Günter Lenz on bass, and Todd Canedy on drums.
    This album brings the jazzy elements back, while retaining the funk and blues/soul of I'm On Your Case. I'm also pleased to see that the album had very few to no overdubs, as it allows more organic performances by all involved, as well as allowing each player to work off of each other, which is generally one of the key principles of jazz (and most music). And of course, Sugarcane rips it throughout, with his primal feel keeping the album a consistently engaging. And of course, the band shines as well, with Dewey providing some wonderful soul-infused keyboard work and Kriegel providing some sweet guitar work.
    I can give this an enthusiastic recommendation, this is my favorite Sugarcane album aside from Fiddler On the Rock.
     
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  16. Jazzmonkie

    Jazzmonkie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    I wish they could do a box set of Sugarcane's MPS recordings.
     
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  17. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Mallard, Mallard:
    [​IMG]

    We now take a look at Mallard, a band that Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo), Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton), and Art Tripp (aka Ed Marimba) formed after leaving The Magic Band in 1974. The band was backed by Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson, who lent them his mobile studio to record this album, which was released in 1975 on Virgin Records. Produced by Harkleroad and Robin Black, the album’s lineup is rounded out by Sam Galpin on vocals. For those interested, the full album can be found on Dailymotion.
    The album is quite good. Not as good as the best Beefheart, but certainly better than what Don was doing at that time. Bill, Mark, and Art really show their musical chops off on this album, with the idiosyncratic arragements that we have come to expect from these guys giving the blues an interesting twist, similar to The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot. Sam Galpin also shows himself a talented bluesy rock singer on here, and while there are a couple nods to Don, Sam generally does his own thing. Shame this didn't catch on, would not have minded more from this band.
    Definitely worth having for any Beefheart fan, especially those burnt by the so called "Tragic Band" albums.
     
  18. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Journey, Look Into The Future:
    [​IMG]


    Alright, this is Journey's sophomore effort Look Into The Future, released January 1, 1976 on Columbia. Produced by the band and Glen Kolotkin, this marks the first of two albums as a quartet after rhythm guitarist George Tickner's departure (although he does having a writing credit on "You're On Your Own" and "I'm Gonna Leave You". Pretty fitting titles for his last songs with the band, aren't they?), as well as the last to feature Gregg Rolie as the sole vocalist. Compared to the first album, this features the band streamlining their sound somewhat, though there are still progressive touches here and there.
    Admittedly, I miss the tougher sound lost with Tickner’s departure, though it is cool hearing a more stripped down with the remaining four members. Lyrically, the album is not anything to write home about, but the performances and instrumentation is as inspired as ever, with Neal absolutely scorching on guitars, while Gregg provides some strong keyboard and vocal work. Aynsley and Ross Valory, stellar rhythm section. Overall, the first album is stronger than this one, but it’s still a worthwhile listen.
     
  19. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Jean-Luc Ponty, Aurora:
    [​IMG]


    Now to cover Jean-Luc Ponty’s Aurora, released February 26, 1976 on Atlantic. Produced by Ponty himself, the album’s lineup consists of Ponty on electric and acoustic violins/violectra/autoharp/keyboards, our very own Tom Fowler on bass, future Genesis/Phil Collins sideman Darryl Stuermer on acoustic and electric guitars, Patrick Rushen on keyboards and synthesizer, and Norman Fearrington on drums and percussion.
    Aurora is a fitting title, given the cosmic nature of the music on here. It's arguably the closest that Ponty has come to psychedelia other than maybe his work with Frank, with his violin work space like in its tone and delivery. Tom rips it up on the bass, of course, and its good to see that the Roxy Band's unsung hero landed back on his feet. As usual, it's easy to take for granted how good Tom, but once in a while, you'll hear something that just makes you smile and say "I love you, man". Stuermer, who of course will work with another member of the Roxy Band in the future, really flexes his chops as a guitarist, matching Ponty and Rushen for intensity all throughout the album. And finally, we have Fearrington, a solid drummer who, along with Tom, prove a formidable rhythm section.
    This is among Ponty's finest efforts along with the likes of King Kong, Upon the Wings of Music, and one more coming up. Essential listening for any fan of Ponty or jazz violin.
     
  20. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Roxy Music, Viva!:
    [​IMG]


    This is Viva!, the first live album by Roxy Music, released in August of 1976 on Island. Produced by Chris Thomas, the album is derived from performances taking place in November of 1973, October of 1974 and October of 1975. In addition to the core of vocalist Bryan Ferry, guitarist Phil Manzanera, saxophonist/oboe player Andy MacKay, keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson, and drummer Paul Thomspon, this album features former King Crimson bassist John Wetton on all but three tracks, with former bassist John Gustafson on "Both Ends Burning" as well as Sal Maida on "Pyjamarama" and "Chance Meeting". This is also Jobson's last album with Roxy Music before he left the band in '76.
    Wow, this is an awesome live album. Gustafson was great an a key part of classic Roxy Music, but by God does Wetton really raise the bar for the band. Paul Thomspon pushes himself on the drums more than he often does on record, really playing like his life depends on it. Ferry is in fantastic voice throughout, and the remaining members really stretch out throughout the record. While their studio albums are still great, this honestly surpasses the studio versions at times, there's an extra charge not only from Wetton's bass but also from the live, in-the-moment character of the performance. This is a rock and roll show, goddamnit.
    I absolutely recommend it, it is an essential Roxy Music record.
     
  21. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    That WOULD be awesome!
     
  22. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Spirit, Farther Along:
    [​IMG]


    I will admit I have never heard this album until now, and honestly, I don't know much about Spirit beyond Randy California's name and death as well as the whole "Stairway To Heaven" controversy. But since I intended to be thorough and Ian is on this album playing the synthesizer, I will do just that.
    This is Farther Along, released in August of 1976 on Mercury. Produced by Al Scmidtt and bassist/guitarist Randy California, this was their eighth studio album overall and third for Mercury. Despite the absence of keyboardist Jay Ferguson, this is generally considered their first "reunion" effort. Spirit (consisting of California, bassist and vocalist Mark Andes, keyboardist John Locke, drummer and percussionist Ed Cassidy, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Andes) is assisted here by Ian on synthesizer, saxophonist Ernie Watts, keyboardist and vocalist Robert Lee, mandolinist Michael Temple, percussionist Steve Larrence, and horn players David Blumberg and Nick DeCaro.
    The album is not without its merits as it does have some standout tracks like the title cut and "Stoney Night", the material doesn't feel particularly inspired. Sure, the band and players get by on virtue of being longtime pros, but that's it, they get by. Sure, Ian does some cool synth work on here (saying that as somebody who's isn't the biggest fan of Ian's snyth or keyboard work), but when it's in service of middling material, it ultimately does not amount to much.
    Other than maybe a track here and there, I don't recommend this album, it's generally forgettable.
     
  23. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Grand Funk Railroad, Good Singin', Good Playin':
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    Do you kids know Grand Funk? The wild,shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bone-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? THE COMPOTENT DRUM WORK OF DON BREWER?! Oh man! Well, to educate you young whippersnappers, here is their eleventh studio album Good Singin', Good Playin', released August 2, 1976 on MCA. Produced by Frank Zappa (yes, that Frank Zappa), this album came about after the band broke up and regrouped after Frank expressed an interest in producing them. When asked about the unexpected airing, drummer Don Brewer said "His whole viewpoint on what rock and roll is all about is basically the same as ours.... Keep it as simple as possible and really bring the balls out of this thing." Ultimately, the band would break up as overdubs were beginning, with Frank staying until 4 in the morning to convince them otherwise. Frank would later be quoted as saying "All I did was, in a documentary way, make a record which tells you exactly what they really sound like. For the first time on record you can hear Grand Funk Railroad ... and they're fantastic, fan-tastic with an F three times taller than you!" Despite this, the album was a commercial failure. It would also be the last album to feature bassist Mel Schacher and keyboardist Craig Frost.
    I am a fan of early Grand Funk, I think it's some good blue collar hard rock. It's not the most innovative music, it's just good rock and roll, and sometimes, that's all I really need. However, I feel starting with We're An American Band, they started pushing for a more commercial direction and pushing more for Don Brewer despite Mark Farner easily being the stronger vocalist. As a result, I feel the material started to suffer in quality. However, this is a very good record. Not quite up to Red or Closer To Home, but a strong, enjoyable record. That you get a solo from Frank on "Out to Get You" is pretty damn cool too. It's an ejoyable record if you're into Grand Funk or just good blue collar rock.
     
  24. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage:
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    Imaginary Voyage
    is the fourteenth studio album by Jean-Luc Ponty and was released November 4, 1976 on Atlantic. Produced by Ponty himself, the album’s lineup consists of Ponty on acoustic and electric violins and organ, Daryl Streumer on guitars, Tom Fowler on bass, Allan Zavod on keyboards, and Mark Craney on percussion.
    Giving my disdain for Zavod’s keys on the 84 tour, I wasn’t looking forward to this when I was exploring Ponty’s catalogue. However, this album is phenomenal! Brilliantly played and produced, electric mix of jazz, country, blues, and funk with some rock touches here and there. “New Country” is as close to Charlie Daniels or Sugarcane as Ponty ever got, and it still works perfectly within the 70s fusion sound of this record. The “Imaginary Voyage” Suite is straight up prog. And Goddamn does Tom rip it up on bass, with Zavod delivering some strong funk-flavored keyboards on the album. Stuermer is killer as always, Carney plays some excellent drums on here.
    This album is excellent, one of Ponty’s best efforts, and I highly recommend it.
     
  25. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    Zavod's gear and style on the Zappa '84 tour were mainly at Zappa's direction I think.
     
    Zoot Marimba likes this.

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