Tuesday, 31 January 2017

"Trilogy: Deluxe Edition" by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (2015 Sony Music/Legacy 2CD/1DVD-A Set – Paschal Byrne/Andy Pearce/Nigel Wilkes/Jakko Jakszyk Remixes and Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"...It Was All Clear...From The Beginning..." 

As an impressionable 14-year old in 1972 Dublin - I can remember holding the 4th ELP album under my arm in all its gorgeous Island Records Hipgnosis Gatefold Sleeve splendiffery as I trucked along the unsuspecting footpath to my mate's house in Clontarf (he later turned out to be a blindingly great bass player - Raymond "Gally" Kelleher). I was gamely determined to get him away from that grungy hard-rocking Black Sabbath and Budgie stuff and introduce the clearly unenlightened eejet Ray to the wondrous and complicated Moog glories of Prog Rock (some chance). He listened to Part One of "The Endless Enigma" and uttered adjectives beginning with 'f' that his mother wouldn't have approved of. Not even Carl Palmer saying the "s" word at the beginning of "The Sheriff" as he misses a beat (which seemed terribly exciting at the time) bought out the inner Rock ‘n’ Roller in him. No – none of it worked – in fact massively unimpressed - Gally looked at me sideways - like I might need to up the drugs-intake or get more therapy (and real fast). Ah well...

In equal measure ELP’s catalogue has long since been the stuff of devotion and utter derision as the decades roll by – and I’m down with both opinions. They were bloated and preposterous at times for sure – but they were also innovative and magnificent and with "Trilogy" – they moved me. "Trilogy" has always had a place in my clogged-up soft machine and this stunning 3-disc reissue finally does that nugget in their patchy catalogue a long-deserved solid. Here are laced-up boots and moody side profiles...

UK released 27 April 2015 (May 2015 in the USA) – "Trilogy: Deluxe Edition" by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER on Sony Music/Legacy /Leadclass Limited 88875004902 (Barcode 888750049025) is a 2CD/1DVD Reissue which breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 – Original Trilogy (42:12 minutes):
1. The Endless Enigma (Part One)
2. Fugue
3. The Endless Enigma (Part Two)
4. From The Beginning
5. The Sheriff
6. Hoedown
7. Trilogy [Side 2]
8. Living Sin
9. Abaddon’s Bolero
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 4th album "Trilogy" – originally released July 1972 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9186 and in the USA on Cotillion SD-9903 (Produced by Greg Lake and Eddie Offord). Original master tapes transferred by PASCHAL BYRNE at Audio Archiving in London – remaster for the original mix by ANDY PEARCE.

Disc 2 – New Stereo Trilogy (46:53 minutes):
1. From The Beginning (Alternate Version)
2 to 10 as per Disc 1 with each track as (New Stereo Mix)

Disc 3 – DVD-A 5.1 Trilogy:
Tracks 1 to 9 (as per Disc 1) offers the album in “Original Mixes Presented In Both MLP Lossless & LPCM – both at 24-bit 96kHz”
Tracks 10 to 18 (as per Disc 1) offers the album in “New Stereo Mixes Presented In Both MLP Lossless 5.1 & Stereo at 24-bit 96kHz, DTS 96/24 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (48kHz) and LPCM Stereo 24-bit 96kHz

Track 19 is “From The Beginning (Alternate Version)” – as per 10 to 18

The New Stereo and 5.1 Surround Mixes are both by JAKKO JAKSZYK - a musician who has been involved in some of the King Crimson Reissues with 5.1 Surround Mixes (all have been praised greatly). DVD-A Authoring is by NIGEL WILKES at Opus Productions. Both Disc 2 and 3 are listed as PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED.

The DVD-A loads up the screen with the front cover artwork across the full widescreen spectrum as it displays EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Trilogy – DELUXE EDITION. It offers 3 options (a) Play (b) Audio Setup and (c) Original Mix. If you press play it will immediately launch into the New Stereo Mix by Jakko Jakszyk while the LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital Surround options are all off the Audio Set Up link.

The four-flap foldout card digipak is a chunky affair with a picture of Keith Emerson (Keyboards), Greg Lake (Lead Vocals and Bass) and Carl Palmer (Drums) under each of the three see-through plastic trays. The 16-page booklet features new liner notes from noted writer and Musicologist CHRIS WELCH with a superbly in-depth interview from Jakko Jakszyk on the tapes and Surround mixes he had to make. A fan of the band since 1971 when he saw the group at the Oval Cricket Grounds in Kennington, London for £1.25 new pence – his enthusiasm and dedication to getting it right is palatable. The reproduce the inner gatefold trick photo by HIPGNOSIS where they are behind trees (Epping Forest), an advert for the American album on Cotillion and there’s even a fee paragraphs from all three musicians (signed beneath) about how they remember the album. It’s well done - but small change to the musical improvements...

"Trilogy" always had way too much hiss and little or no oomph. I’ve heard (I think) no less than three remasters of it – none of which elevated it beyond 'good'. And while you play Andy Pearce’s gallant attempt on Disc 1 – the truth for me is that the flat transfer doesn’t really sound improved. But all of that goes out the window when you get to Disc 2 and 3 where new Remaster Hero JAKSZYK has finally produced the Audio fans have craved for decades – and in two different ways (no less) that both excel. The New Stereo Trilogy is truly fabulous stuff – the hiss gone – the instruments to the fore – and yet it isn’t trebled up to the nines for effect – the whole sound stage is just better and more ballsy for the want of better words. When Greg Lake sings, "I've begun to see the reasons why I'm here..." as he finishes Part 2 of "The Endless Enigma" – the whole group punch is formidable. And there’s a heartbeat at the beginning of track one (Lake on Bass apparently) that predates "Dark Side Of The Moon" by a year as an intro effect that’s been hidden in the mix for decades.

But then you’re hit with a true sensation – the beautiful ballad by Greg Lake "From The Beginning". Having loved and heard this track for 40+ years in average sound – what an utter blast it is to hear it this clear, this gorgeous and dare we say - this powerful. The acoustic guitars strum with power and warmth, the bass is so sweet and man - when that Keith Emerson solo kicks it – you’re floored. Of the tracks on Side Two the best sounding has to be "Trilogy" with its piano intro and then that massive Synth break in the middle. Those huge keyboard blasts and drum rolls at the end of "Living Sin" also sound incredible.

I popped round to a mate's house to sample the 5.1 Surround and WOW is the only appropriate response. There’s instrumental stuff going in the album finisher "Abaddon's Bolero" that I’ve never heard – rhythm flourishes and guitars that swirl around the room – unbelievably good. The DVD-A is a triumph and I’m really going to have to invest in a decent Surround set up at home.

So there you have it – a good Emerson, Lake And Palmer reissue at last - glory be. Why I’m so animated I might even listen to the side and a half version of "Karn Evil 9" on the dreadful live triple "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends..." set?

Well I might...but then again...I may need to look at those med's levels again as Gally Kelleher once advised...
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"Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Deluxe Edition" by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (2016 BMG/Manticore 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Reissue - Andy Pearce and Steve Wilson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





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"...Oh What A Lucky Man He Was..."

In many ways Emerson, Lake & Palmer's November 1970 debut LP (Island Records in the UK and Cotillion in the USA) was Part 2 of the Prog explosion set off in earnest by another extraordinary debut - King Crimson's "In The Court Of The Crimson King" in October 1969.

Dorset Guitarist and Singer GREG LAKE had been a founder-member of Crimson and featured on that first LP – Yorkshire keyboard virtuoso KEITH EMERSON had played with Gary Farr, The V.I.P’s and done his five-album stint with The Nice (even adding keyboard touches to Rod Stewart's "I Wouldn't Ever Change A Thing" on his debut album "An Old Raincoat Won't Let You Down" released February 1970 in the UK) - whilst Brummie Drummer CARL PALMER had whacked his sticks for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and formed Atomic Rooster with Vincent Crane. When these three huge forces of 60ts Avant Garde came together as a band in June 1970 - their initial album was always going to be an event.

But before they unleashed that beast on a fractured counter-culture - a spot of Proggy grandstanding was in order. On the 29th of August 1970 - they took to the stage at the Isle Of Wight Festival with suitably bombastic crowd-pleasing results - cannon fire mixed with neo-classical arrangements and squealing keyboards with more wires and jump leads than Mission Control at Cape Canaveral. Island Records immediately thought - that's the band for me. They signed ELP pronto and in November the record was out - peaking at No.4 in the UK album charts with the Yanks waiting until February of 1971 to eventually push it up to No. 18 (it stayed on their charts for an impressive 42 weeks only to be replaced in July 1971 with the similarly challenging "Tarkus"). Which brings us to an equally tortured history of this first ELP album on CD...

In truth I've lost count at how reissues/remasters of their catalogue there's been – seven or eight hundred maybe – but I'm sure that this 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' for 2016 will offer fans what they've always wanted – the album in its best sound and tastily presented too. But therein again lies another battle. Some felt that the 2012 remix done by Reissue Godhead Steve Wilson was clean for sure but also sonically neutered from the waist down. Others loved it. What you get here is two versions – the 2012 Remaster carried out by an Engineer I hugely favour – ANDY PEARCE (who works in tandem with MATT WORTHAM) on Disc 1 – with the STEVE WILSON Alternate Version of Disc 2. Andy has even mastered this release for both discs. If the Wilson Mix is too clinical for your tastes – the warmer Pearce version is the baby for you. Pearce and Wortham have twiddled the knobs on CD reissue catalogues for Rory Gallagher, The Kinks, Frankie Miller, Pentangle, Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash, Budgie and the recent Free reissues (all praised) and are currently tackling Deep Purple's Seventies output as we speak (a knicker-wettingly exciting prospect). Wilson has transformed Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Yes catalogues with universally worshipped outcomes. All three Audio Engineer names are about as respected as it can get these days. So let's knuckle down to the details at hand...

UK released 29 July 2016 (1 September 2016 in the USA) - "Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Deluxe Edition'" by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER on BMG/Manticore BMGCAT2CD1 (Barcode 4050538179897) is a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' which features the Andy Pearce Remaster of the album on Disc 1 (2012) and the Steven Wilson 'Alternate Album Stereo Remix' from 2012 - both mastered in 2016 by Andy Pearce. It plays out as follows:

Disc 1 - The Original 1970 Album (2012 Remaster) - 41:18 minutes
1. The Barbarian
2. Take A Pebble
3. Knife-Edge
4. The Three Fates [Side 2]
(i) Clotho - Royal Festival Hall Organ
(ii) Lachesis - Piano Solo
(iii) Atropos - Piano Trio
5. Tank
6. Lucky Man
Tracks 1 to 6 are their debut album "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" - released November 1970 in the UK on Island ILPS 9132 (Pink Label Pressing) and February 1971 in the USA on Cotillion SD-9040. Arranged by ELP and Produced by GREG LAKE (Eddy Offord of Yes fame was the Engineer) - it peaked at No. 4 in the UK and No. 18 in the USA. "The Barbarian" is based on "Allegro Barbaro" by Bela Bartok (arranged by ELP), "Take A Pebble" by Greg Lake (arranged by Keith Emerson), "Knife-Edge" by Leos Janacek and Johann Bach (arranged by ELP), "The Three Fates" by Keith Emerson (all three-parts), "Tank" by Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer with "Lucky Man" by Greg Lake.

Disc 2 – The Alternate Album (2012 Steven Wilson Stereo Mix) – 55:41 minutes
1. The Barbarian
2. Take A Pebble
3. Knife-Edge (With Extended Outro)
4. Promenade
5. The Three Fates: Atropos
6. Rave Up
7. Drum Solo
8. Lucky Man
9. Take A Pebble (Alternate Take)
10. Knife-Edge (Alternate Take)
11. Lucky Man (First Greg Lake Solo Version)
12. Lucky Man (Alternate Version)

The three-way foldout card digipak has a series of three black and white photos of the boys larking about (ELP Archives) – various live shots of all three – a superlative worldwide 7” singles display on the centre-pages of the album's lone 45 "Lucky Man" b/w "Knife-Edge" (Holland, Germany and Japan are in there) – as well as new liner notes from noted writer and music buff CHRIS WELCH. The reissue is dedicated to Keith Emerson who died 14 March 2016 – and released in July 2016 – couldn't have known of Greg Lakes' sad passing on 7 December 2016. There's a full page trade advert for the album on Page 13 – the usual reissue credits – and interviews with Emerson and Lake regarding the recordings (Keith was only just learning the Moog when he played his solo on "Lucky Man" – done in one take – it was owned by Mike Vickers of Manfred Mann). Downsides - both CD labels are Manticore only - the reissue label from the mid Seventies - where's the British 'Pink I' Label or the American Cotillion original? The liner notes are good as I say but there's not a word on Disc 2 – no insights into the Alternates or Remix process. But that all goes out the window once you hear the actual audio on 'both' CDs...

ANDY PEARCE did the Remaster for Disc 1 back in 2012 – while Disc 2 is Porcupine Tree's STEVEN WILSON version also from 2012 – with both now mastered by ANDY PEARCE is 2016. I take on board what some have said about the cleanness of Wilson's take in 2012 – but frankly whatever Andy has done with this slight tweak in 2016 - I think most will absolutely love it. So if you want more breathing - AP's take is the one for you – if you want a more humane clean cut – then Disc 2 is your go-to. Either way – you're quids in. And I'm also shocked at the quality of the outtakes on Disc 2...superb stuff we'll get into later...

As the heavy-heavy monster sound of "The Barbarian" comes stomping into your living room (based on "Allegro Barbaro" by Bela Bartok and arranged by ELP) – in less than 20-seconds you’re immediately aware of the power of the band and that this is no-prisoners Progressive Rock. The audio is amazing – full and in your face – not over-trebled – but thumping you in the chest and making you think – this is probably what that Isle of Wight audience felt. "...Then watch the ripples that unfold into me..." – Greg Lake sings on the undeniably pretty "Take A Pebble" – for me one of their greatest moments on record. Opening with piano-frame strums that are soon followed by Bass and Drums – the Audio on this 12-minute album centrepiece is fabulous – Emerson showing beautiful piano delicacy as he plays – Palmer snaking his percussive way over those hi-hats. Then you get that distant acoustic guitar section – a very sweet transfer where Lake’s playing comes sailing out as the hand-claps build – finally followed by Keith showing his musicality. Before all the pomp took over – this is surely the ELP many fans want to remember – minus all the flashy synths – there’s just the three of them and their virtuosity making a sound that is Emerson, Lake & Palmer. For a band that’s (let’s face it) so often derided – I often play this track alone to prove the opposite – a piece of music that warrants respect. Again amazing clarity on the Bass and treated-vocal of Greg Lake as he sings about spread-eagle claws on "Knife-Edge" – a very Crimson song and the one chosen to represent ELP on the 2005 Island Records 3CD Mini Box Set "Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal".

Based on a Greek legend of three sisters who could control a person’s destiny and fate - Side 2 opens with the "The Three Fates" Suite by Keith Emerson. The first part is suitably grandiose utilising the Royal Festival Hall’s Organ for the massive chords of "Clotho" (special permission sought and given) while Part 2 is pure Emerson – sat at Advision Studios' seven-foot long Yamaha grand piano giving it some finger-plonking welly. Palmer and Emerson then join forces for the frenzied Piano/Percussion battle of "Atropos" that again feels like King Crimson having an epiphany moment. The near seven-minutes of "Tank" is a big ELP fan fave – a dancing Clavinet perfectly matched by Lake and Palmer – rounded off by Palmer giving it some Ginger Baker – a drum solo. Quite aside from the naff nature of Drum Solos in the live environment for the whole of the Seventies – you have to say that the audio here rocks. "Lucky Man" was apparently the first-song Greg Lake wrote after his mum bought him an Acoustic Guitar at the age of 12 (nice one Mrs. L). An obvious single with its ‘ooh what a lucky man he was’ voices and those lovely acoustic guitars – and of course the rupture-the-sky Moog solo that to this day sends chills up my arms (he used the Moog Mike Vickers from Manfred Mann had left in the studio).

Disc 2 offers up a lot more than I’d bargained for. The very hissy “Promenade” features Lake and Emerson duetting on Vocals and Organ for one and half minutes – while track 5 cleverly isolates "Atropos" in "The Three Fates" Suite and accentuates that rattling percussion as Keith hammers those piano keys. Of real interest is the near five-minute "Rave Up" where Lake flicks about on an Electric Guitar as Emerson and Palmer keep jabbing with Keyboards and Drums – like they’re searching for something interesting to happen. It descends into a go-as-fast-as-you-can-go race to the instrumental finish – but I love it and the Audio is absolutely blistering. The three minutes of "Drum Solo" pretty much does what it says on the tin – Carl hitting his kit like he’s doing Brand’s Hatch in a E-Type Jag and needs to get round in a hurry. If I’m truthful I prefer Wilson’s version of "Lucky Man" – gorgeous Audio that seems to get more out of the Vocals. The Alternate "Take A Pebble" is preceded by some studio banter (let’s do it from the top) but despite its wickedly good sound quality – it disappointingly only lasts just under four minutes. But that’s not to say that I don’t think ELP fans will be chewing this up for breakfast – Keith’s playing – Greg on a clear Bass while Palmer caresses those cymbals. It ends quickly because someone fluffed their part and they giggle about it in some more dialogue. It’s fantastic stuff. The Alternate Take of "Knife-Edge" has huge sound and Keith’s extraordinary playing. Another prize is surely Greg Lake’s First Acoustic Solo Version of "Lucky Man" – those voices different yet still beautiful and no Moog break - while the final Alternate Version of the song has a thrashing Electric Guitar solo instead of that keyboard moment we all know and love – interesting

ELP would conquer the Prog world with "Tarkus" in 1971, "Trilogy" in 1972 and the delightfully titled "Brain Salad Surgery" in 1973 – before it all went preposterous and OTT. But there was a reason why they were huge – and that’s more than evident of this timely 2016 reissue. And with the 2012 version deleted and now starting at £50+ on the used marketplace – this is a ten-spot well spent on Amazon (UK)...

PS: This review is affectionately dedicated to Keith Emerson and Greg Lake who both passed in 2016 - thanks for the pebbles and the ripples...

Sunday, 29 January 2017

"Deja Vu" by CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG with Dallas Taylor and Nigel Reeves (1994 Atlantic CD Reissue – Joe Gastwirt Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...




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"...Our House Is A Very Fine House..."

January 2006 saw a superlative 'Expanded & Remastered HDCD Edition' of CSN's monumental 1969 debut – "Crosby, Stills & Young" – but no such luck for the follow-up – the No. 1 album – "Deja Vu".

It seems astonishing that in January 2017 – almost 47 years after this masterpiece was released Stateside in March 1970 (May 1970 in the UK) – that we're essentially left with a Standard CD Remaster from the early 90's and a gatefold slip of paper as an inlay. No extras – no celebration – no annotation of any kind. In fact the one piece of info they do give is 'wrong' – quoting the US album's catalogue number as SD-19118 when that was the 1977 re-issue number – the original was Atlantic SD-7200.

I know that doesn't in any way lessen the achievement of both albums – two melodious Americana masterpieces still casting a harmony-vocal shadow over today's myriad of musical landscapes. I just wish there was more for an album that's been a cornerstone of millions of record collections for closing on 50 years now. Still – let's deal with what we do have. Here are the details (for which I almost cut my hair)...

UK released August 1994 (July 1994 in the USA) – "Deja Vu" by CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG on Atlantic 7567-82649-2 (Barcode 075678264924) is a straightforward 'Digitally Remastered' CD version of the 10-track album from 1970 and pans out as follows (36:31 minutes):

1. Carry On
2. Teach Your Children
3. Almost Cut My Hair
4. Helpless
5. Woodstock
6. Déjà Vu [Side 2]
7. Our House
8. 4 + 20
9. Country Girl: (a) Whiskey Boot Hill (b) Down, Down, Down (c) "Country Girl" (I Think You're Pretty)
10. Everybody I Love You
Tracks 1 to 10 are their second studio album "Deja Vu" – released March 1970 in the USA on Atlantic SD-7200 and May 1970 in the UK on Atlantic 2401001. It rose to No.1 and No.5 respectively on the US and UK charts. It was first reissued in the UK in March 1972 onto Atlantic K 50001 (with the transfer of Atlantic’s catalogue to Kinney Music). 

"Carry On" and "4 + 20" written by Stephen Stills - "Everybody I Love You" written by Stephen Stills and Neil Young - "Teach Your Children" and "Our House" written by Graham Nash - "Almost Cut My Hair" and "Deja Vu" written by David Crosby - "Helpless" and "Country Girl" written by Neil Young with "Woodstock" being a Joni Mitchell cover version.

The gatefold inlay simply recreates the inner gatefold of the original vinyl LP (same both sides of the pond) – there’s a see-through CD tray with the words 'Digitally Remastered' on the spine and that's it. The good news is obvious the moment you play the CD – a JOE GASTWIRT Remaster from original tapes that rocks – warm, punchy and expressive when it needs to be.

I can remember when I first heard Stills' "Carry On" – the twanging acoustics – the hooky lyrics – but most of all those voices harmonising in a way that blew you out of the water. And the clever changes in tempos. Love is coming to us all indeed. Onwards to the code to live by – the feed them on your dreams "Teach Your Children" – a gorgeous Graham Nash ballad. In the UK the look-at-them-and-sigh "Teach Your Children" (with Gerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead on Steel Guitar) became the fourth 45 around the album when Atlantic paired it with "Deja Vu" on Atlantic 2019 039 in November 1970. David Crosby comes storming in like he’s Neil Young’s angrier brother with "Almost Cut My Hair" examining how peer pressure works and eventually deciding to remain individual – true to himself and let his freak flag fly. Neil decides to tells us in his nasal whine about a town in North Ontario where all his changes were – a place that still leaves shadows on his eyes (gorgeous audio as those voices come in on the chorus). They end Side 1 with a rocked-up version of Joni Mitchell’s peace weekend anthem "Woodstock" – Stills makes it more angry than it should be but I prefer the Matthews Southern Comfort 7" single version that went to No. 1 in the UK in 1970.

John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful contributes a late Harmonica warble to the Side 2 opener "Deja Vu" – another David Crosby winner. As the years pass - I come back to the genius use of guitars, voices and tempo breaks in this superb ‘makes me wonder’ song. And that wall-of-sound that only CSNY make where they sing. “...We have all been here before...” they chant – well yeah – and I’ll want to go back again and again. We go acoustic ethereal with "4 + 20" – a fabulous Stephen Stills tale of troubled souls – why am I so alone. Atlantic put the three-part Neil Young "Country Girl" on the B-side of "Teach The Children" in April 1970 (Atlantic 2091 002) – waitress winking –but the sweet harmony vocals try to warn that there’s no love in the city. What a brilliant song and I love that echoed Harmonica as it crescendos before fading out. The album ends of the Stills/Young rocker "Everybody I Love You" – guitars wailing as they "la la" those harmony vocals. What a record...

We should talk about what’s not here. There's a demo of the "Déjà Vu" classic "Teach Your Children" on the Expanded Edition of "Crosby, Stills & Nash" which would have had an obvious placing here. Fans will know that there is a version of "Almost Cut My Hair" on the 1991 "Carry On" 4CD Box Set by CSNY and a further version on Crosby’s 3CD Anthology from 2006 "Voyage". As well as those there’s the stunning stand-alone 7” single "Ohio" b/w "Find The Cost Of Freedom" – a brilliant two-sider that later turned on the "So Far - Best Of” LP compilation in 1974 – all ideal Bonus Tracks material. Perhaps one day we might get a Deluxe Edition 2CD set covering the event in its entirety – we remain helplessly hoping...

"...A different kind of poverty now upsets my soul... " – Stephen Stills sings on the quietly majestical "4 + 20". I never feel poverty when I listen to them - they've always lifted me up. Embrace the many-coloured beast...as the great man says...
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"Fog On The Tyne" by LINDISFARNE (2004 EMI/Virgin/Charisma 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...




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"...We Can Have A Wee-Wee...
We Can Have A Wet On The Wall..."

Before we get into the review - a point of order should you order from any Amazon site. 

Even if you use the right Barcode in the Amazon search bar for the original No. 1 UK LP from 1971 - you're directed to some CD of re-makes with different artwork and 'not' the original band or LP (the usurper artwork has the five of them stood by railings – the original album artwork and CD you need is shown in the pictures provided below). 

The CD Remaster you do want is the official May 2004 CD Reissue on Virgin/Charisma CASCDR 1050 - Barcode 724357990325 only - an 'Expanded Edition' of Lindisfarne's second album "Fog On The Tyne" with two Bonus Tracks added on. You may need to search for it and ask you're online seller to sell you the right issue. 

That said - here are the unclouded technical details for the 2004 Version...

UK released May 2004 - "Fog On The Tyne" by LINDISFARNE on Virgin/Charisma CASCDR 1050 (Barcode 724357990325) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Two Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (36:31 minutes):

1. Meet Me On The Corner
2. Alright On The Night
3. Uncle Sam
4. Together Forever
5. January Song
6. Peter Brophy Doesn't Care [Side 2]
7. City Song
8. Passing Ghosts
9. Train In G Major
10. Fog On The Tyne
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd studio album "Fog On The Tyne" - released October 1971 in the UK on Charisma Records CAS 1050 and February 1972 in the USA on Elektra EKS-75021. Produced by BOB JOHNSTON - the album peaked at No. 1 in the UK – didn’t chart USA. "Meet Me On The Corner" and "Train In G Major" written by Rod Clements - "Alright On The Night", "January Song", "Peter Brophy Don't Care" [co-write with Terry Morgan], "City Song", "Passing Ghosts" and "Fog On The Tyne" written by Alan Hull - "Uncle Sam" written by Simon Cowe and "Together Forever" is a Rab Noakes cover version.

BONUS TRACKS:
11. Scotch Mist
12. No Time To Lose
Tracks 11 and 12 are both non-album UK B-sides (B1 and B2) to the February 1972 3-Track 7” Maxi Single for "Meet Me On The Corner" on Charisma CB 173 (peaked at No. 5 on the UK charts). "Scotch Mist" is written by all five band-members - "No Time To Lose" by Alan Hull.

LINDISFARNE was:
RAY JACKSON - Lead Vocals, Mandolin and Harmonica
ALAN HULL - Lead Vocals, Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars and Keyboards
SIMON COWE - Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars, Mandolin and Backing Vocals
ROD CLEMENTS - Bass, Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars and Violin
RAY LAIDLAW - Drums and Percussion

The gatefold slip of paper that acts as an inlay goes no further than offering the original LP artwork - inside and out. The colour photos of our Newcastle heroes lollygagging on a bench outside the salubrious 'Britannia Lodging' are still there - as well as them taking a cuppa inside their 'Tea Rooms'. It's a damn shame Virgin did no more - this was a Number One album fro god's sake and a hugely popular one at that - some hindsight would have been nice - foreign picture sleeves for "Meet Me On The Corner" maybe - but alas. This Virgin/Charisma CD reissue has used the 'Pink Scroll Label' variant of 'The Famous Charisma Label' on the CD aping the appearance of the rare 1st pressing British LP (most copies were represses on the Mad Hatter label variant). Beneath the see-through CD tray is an advert for their debut "Nicely Out Of Tune" from November 1970 and their 3rd album "Dingly Dell" from September 1972 (that CD unfortunately uses different artwork). It's nice to look at but you wish there was more...

By way of compensation however we do get a new KATHY BRYAN CD Remaster done at Abbey Road from real tapes - and man does this thing sound good. Being essentially a Folk-Rock act based around 12-string guitars, mandolins and the occasional sweet Harmonica solo - the music is a dead-ringer for decent remastering and that's indeed what we get. Lindisfarne's sound has echoes of Matthews Southern Comfort, Brinsley Schwarz, Cochise, Fotheringay and even traces of John Martyn and the transfer here is lovely.

As you can see from the detailed credits above - Alan Hull takes the lion's share of songwriting credits - but two of my fave-raves are actually Rod Clements songs - the hugely popular hit single "Meet Me On The Corner" and the Bluesy LP gem "Train In G Major" (he also penned the fabulous "Road To Kingdom Come" on the "Nicely Out Of Tune" LP from 1970). On both tracks Ray Jackson takes lead vocals - Hull laying into stunning piano fills on "Train In G Major" before the band all converge on a boozy barroom rock out. Hull, Jackson and Cowe all share leads on "Alright On The Night" - a take-me-as-I-am Acoustic romp that leads very nicely into Simon Cowe's superb "Uncle Sam" - a strangely pretty song about soldiers press-ganged into fighting. Devious little bugger starts out all strumming sweet - but then jumps into a fantastic band effort anchored by cool piano and harmonica. Their country-comfort-cover of Rab Noakes' "Together Forever" (sung by Jackson) and Hull's own "January Song" (sung by Hull) both feature something that's not praised enough - the England's CSNY sound their harmony vocals added to every track.

Side 2 opens with "Peter Brophy Doesn't Care" - a Hull co-write with Terry Morgan about a monocle-faced man with disdain for all ordinary life. "...I've been too long travelling on your train..." - Hull complains on "City Song" - sick of cold metropolis indifference - longing for the warmth of a garden and children and a lady watching over it all (magical harmonies in this forgotten gem of a song). A huge sound emanates from the walls of acoustics on "Passing Ghosts" – a you-don't-have-to-talk song that finishes with a Bass line that threatens to do for your speaker cones. I'm amazed no one has thought to cover the brill Acoustic Blues of "Train In G Major" – perhaps Marc Cohn when he gets round to his 1971 album of cover version (want a man like me – yes you do Marc with a C). It finishes on the brilliance of Hull's wit where our heroes are sitting in some café 'sucking sickly sausage rolls' contemplating the Dole queue while crooked coffin-makers are trying to be their friend. All this and its time for a slash (adapted lyrics from this song title this review).

As if the album isn't enough – we get two genuinely great Bonus Tracks – the rare non-album B-sides to the "Meet Me On The Corner" single. "Scotch Mist" turns out to be a Mandolin instrumental rave-up where Lindisfarne sounds like Fairport Convention or Horslips having a laugh (the Audio is amazing). But better is the 'time is half-past nine' outtake "No Time To Lose" where you can't help but think this song could easily have made the album.

The equally excellent (and way more political) "Dingly Dell" album followed in September 1972 with their fourth "Roll On, Ruby" in December 1973 – but by such time – few were listening. Charisma issued a Best Of vinyl compilation called "Lindisfarne's Finest Hour" in October 1975 (Charisma CAS 1108) that featured four cuts from the popular "Fog On The Tyne" - while on quitting the band Alan Hull released a couple of quality solo albums - the overlooked "Pipedream" in July 1973 on Charisma CAS 1069 and "Squire" in May 1975 on Warner Brothers K 56121.

But when people think of Lindisfarne – they will inevitably grin from ear-to-ear at the thought of 1971's "Fog On The Tyne" that like The Faces "Ooh La La " album in 1973 and Dr. Feelgood's live set "Stupidity" in 1976 – was an unlikely but entirely justified Number 1 chart topper on the British LP charts.

Despite the passing years and the mist closing in - "Fog On The Tyne" is indeed all yours - still there - tugging on your heart strings again. Now if you can only nail down the right friggin CD reissue...elusive little bleeder...wee-weeing on walls somewhere...

Friday, 27 January 2017

"Get A Whiff A This" by JUICY LUCY (2013 Esoteric Recordings Reissue - Paschal Byrne CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...




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"…They Say Some Day...I Might Be A Star…" 

Back in August 2010 - England's Esoteric Recordings (part of the Cherry Red umbrella of labels) reissued the blistering September 1969 self-titled debut album of JUICY LUCY (only the second LP on the then blossoming Vertigo Records) – alongside their equally good second platter from October 1970 called "Lie Back And Enjoy It" (also on Vertigo) – both with cool bonus tracks and newly Remastered audio.

But it's taken three more years for fans to see their much-less favoured third album on Bronze Records (distributed by Island hence the ILPS catalogue number) to emerge on a Remastered CD (alas minus bonus tracks) – the pongtastic cartoon-covered "Get A Whiff A This" from June 1971. Here are the Odorono details...

UK released 23 April 2013 – "Get A Whiff A This" by JUICY LUCY on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC2389 (Barcode 5013929438941) is a straightforward CD Remaster of their 9-track 3rd album from June 1971 and plays out as follows (35:18 minutes):

1. Mr. Skin
2. Midnight Sun
3. Midnight Rider
4. Harvest
5. Mr. A. Jones
6. Sunday Morning [Side 2]
7. Big Lil
8. Jessica
9. Future Days
Tracks 1 to 9 are their third studio album "Get A Whiff A This" - released June 1971 in the UK on Bronze Records ILPS 9157 and September 1971 in the USA on Atco Records SD 33-367. Produced by NIGEL THOMAS and JUICY LUCY – it didn't chart in either country.

JUICY LUCY was:
PAUL WILLIAMS - Lead Vocals [ex Zoot Money’s Big Band]
CHRIS MERCER – Saxophone, Piano and Organ [ex John Mayall's Bluesbreakers]
MICKY MOODY – Lead Guitars [ex Tramline, Mike Cotton Sound - later with Snafu, Whitesnake and duet work with Paul Williams]
GLENN (ROSS) CAMPBELL – Steel Guitar [ex The Misunderstood]
JIM LEVERTON – Bass
ROD COOMBES - Drums

The 8-page booklet features new liner notes from noted writer and music-buff MALCOLM DOME (reissue coordinated by Mark Powell) with the text done in the same style handwriting as the original 1973 LP sleeve (a nice touch). Original band member Paul Williams gives insights into the chaos and pressure that surrounded them at the time. There are two trade adverts for the album and reproductions of the Campbell cartoons that made up the single-sleeved original LP. The CD label apes the Juicy Lucy band logo as per the original artwork and beneath the see-through CD tray is an inlay with (not surprisingly) adverts for the two previous CD reissues on Esoteric. But the best news is the spiffing audio...

Boasting a new 24-bit remaster done in 2013 by BEN WISEMAN at Audio Archiving in London - it's also available digitally at www.losttunes.com. Like Esoteric's 2010 CD reissues of "Juicy Lucy" and "Lie Back And Enjoy It" - the audio quality is incredibly clean and crisp, full of power and a massive improvement over what I had before - a really great job done. With its artwork and see-through tray - it's a nice-looking reissue too. To the music...

"Get A Whiff A This" is the kind of difficult third album that's long forgotten - and unfortunately it's very easy to hear why. To start with it's stylistically all over the place. Steve Ellis had just left the line up to join Boxer - replaced by Jim Leverton on Bass from Noel Redding's Fat Mattress. Lead singer Paul Williams was on his 2nd Juicy Lucy LP ("Lie Back And Enjoy It" was his first) – and the presence of ace-axeman Glenn Ross Campbell who did the stunning "Who Do You Love" took a Pedal Steel backseat to the Lead Guitar of Micky Moody – later of course with Snafu, Nazareth and Whitesnake.

Heavily influenced by American bands like The Allman Brothers and Spirit – Juicy Lucy seemed to lose songwriting focus and produced a 9-track mishmash of ok cover versions alongside six all-genre originals. It isn't Blues Rock – it isn't quite Country Rock either – although "Big Lil" has fab Bluesy axework in it and the band's own "Jessica" actually sounds like The Allman Brothers who of course had a song of the same name on their "Brothers And Sisters" LP (the theme music to "Top Gear" for years). Unfortunately Juicy Lucy's "Jessica" isn't a cool instrumental but a sliding Dobro/Electric guitar that thinks its Elvin Bishop. Speaking of iconic American bands - "Midnight Rider" is a cover of The Allman Brothers classic that's good but hardly deviates from the original's sound so what's the point. "Mr. Skin" appeared on Spirit's brilliant "Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus" album in November 1970 on Epic Records and again I can see what drew the British band to it – a funky cool tune with great lyrics. Juicy Lucy's version is spirited (if you'll forgive the pun) but it feels more like an interesting B-side rather than a track that leads off Side 1 on your new album.

At last things start cooking with Paul Williams' hard-hitting "Midnight Sun" - a heartfelt rocker about Vietnam and the appalling waste of life taking place there on both sides of the political divide (how to kill a man a thousand miles away). They then take Bobby Darin's obscure "Harvest" and Funky-Rock its ass producing a very cool groove. The superb acoustic ballad "Mr. A. Jones" feels like Paul Williams has been channeling Rod Stewart's "Gasoline Alley" and "Later That Same Year" by Matthews Southern Comfort from 1970 and winning (lovely audio too). But Side 2's "Sunday Morning" and "Future Days" are countrified ballads that sound like a mellow Frankie Miller chilling in the studio before he gets back to his real job of being a proper Rock 'n' Roll singer. Unlike their signature sound of old – both songs feel like a band at odds with their public identity. You long for these tunes to ignite but like too much of the album - they steadfastly refuse to do so. Williams admits in Malcolm Dome's excellent liner notes that in hindsight the LP needed much more work – but they were under pressure to deliver between tours.

Re-listening to "Get A Whiff A This" now in 2017 (46 years after the event) – it's hardly surprising that despite its tactile stippled-effect cover and its schoolboy title (a joke Glenn Ross Campbell came up with it) – the 1971 album made no commercial impact at the time (or subsequently) and that’s because it just didn’t have memorable enough tunes to bother anyone (let alone a hooky single).

After the resounding commercial failure of LP No. 3 - the line-up would fracture yet again (four exited) with only Paul Williams and Micky Moody left to record 1972’s "Pieces" on Polydor Records – their fourth and last studio album. But – and I stress this - there are some Seventies bands I go dolally over and JUICY LUCY is one of them. And although some of the tracks on here don't quite live up to the image and promise of the elaborate sleeve - there's still magic in them dar slides – and the Audio is toppermost.

So despite the album's shortcomings - I'll return to this underrated band and record more often than not. I won't be getting sniffy about this one...

PS: I've also reviewed the 2010 Esoteric Recordings CD Remasters of their debut "Juicy Lucy" from 1969 and the follow-up from 1970 "Lie Back And Enjoy It" – both 'Expanded Editions' with new annotation (see separate reviews)...

"Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" by T.REX (2002 Edsel 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





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"...Change Is Coming..."

The typically space cadet entitled "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" is not one of Marc Bolan's most popular T.REX albums for sure (it peaked at No. 12 in March 1974 on release). It isn't even that well remembered as a classic either truth be told (except amongst fans).

But as ever - Edsel of the UK have done his recorded legacy proud with this 2CD overhaul. You get the original 1974 LP Remastered, important non-album singles that surrounded it and a slew of worthy Bonus Tracks in the shape of an 'Alternative' album called 'Change' (all 13 cuts), working versions of all the single sides and solo Acoustic Demos too. All in all – the whole caboodle is very good value for money. Here are the unhidden details...

UK released August 2002 (reissued in 2007 and 2014) – "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage In August" by T.REX on Edsel MEDCD 717 (Barcode 740155171728) is a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' of Remasters and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (60:58 minutes):
1. Venus Loon
2. Sound Pit
3. Explosive Mouth
4. Galaxy
5. Change
6. Nameless Wildness
7. Teenage Dream
8. Liquid Gang
9. Carsmile Smith And The Old One
10. You've Got To Jive To Stay Alive – Spanish Midnight
11. Interstellar Soul
12. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
13. The Avengers (Superbad)
14. The Leopards Featuring Gardenia & The Mighty Slug
Tracks 1 to 14 are the album "Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage In August" – originally released 1 February 1974 in the UK on EMI Records BLN 7751.

EXTENDED PLAY (five non-album single sides):
15. The Groover
16. Midnight – Tracks 15 and 16 are the A&B-sides of a June 1973 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 5
17. Truck On (Tyke)
18. Sitting Here – Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides of a November 1973 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 6
19. Satisfaction Pony – Track 19 is a January 1974 UK 7" single on EMI/T.Rex Wax Co. Label MARC 7 – the non-album B-side to "Teenage Dream"

Disc 2 (61:52 minutes):
1. Venus Loon
2. Sound Pit (Parts 1 & 2)
3. Explosive Mouth
4. Galaxy
5. Change (Signs)
6. Nameless Wildness
7. Teenage Dream
8. Liquid Gang
9. Carsmile Smith And The Old One
10. Spanish Midnight
11. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
12. The Avengers (Superbad)
13. The Leopards Featuring Gardenia & The Mighty Slug
Tracks 1 to 13 are "The Alternate Zinc Alloy ('Change')" – studio rough mixes of every track.

EXTENDED PLAY (All Working Versions of the Five Single-Sides on Disc 1):
14. The Groover
15. Midnight
16. Truck On (Tyke)
17. Sitting There (Sitting Here)
18. Satisfaction Pony

BONUS ACOUSTIC DEMOS:
19. Nameless Wildness
20. Carsmile Smith & The Old One (Solo)
21. Carsmile Smith & The Old One (with Organ)
22. Painless Persuasion v. The Meathawk Immaculate
23. The Avengers (Superbad)
24. The Leopards Featuring Geraldine & The Mighty Slug

The three-way fold-out digipak is pretty – alternate artwork on the inner flaps – press adverts and promo stuff beneath the two see-through CD trays - detailed 16-page liner notes by T.Rex/Marc Bolan expert MARK PAYTRESS – lyrics – and both CDs carrying the T.Rex Wax Co. 7" single Logo which on this reissue is blackened to resemble the sleeve instead of the usual blue and red colouring (I remember for all those 45s we used to grab in Woolworths with the excitement of buying the next Beatles seven). The remasters are fabulous too – full of power and muscle – giving tracks like the electric strum of "Change" and the chugging rock boogie/drums of "Explosive Mouth" huge presence. But in truth I wish I could get more excited about the album in general…

I remember to this day the disappointment of "Truck On (Tyke)" – the first T.REX 7" single to sound average – like Bolan was treading water. And for me the LP “Zinc Alloy…” that followed amounted to the same. What was so exciting between 1971 and 1973 now sounded so utterly dated and forced by 1974. There are magic moments for sure like the funky boogie of "Nameless Wildness" and the opening guitar chug of "Venus Loon" where the groove is still good – but much of the rest sounds forced and massively over-produced with screaming girly voices and strings. There's a general feeling of 'uninspired' about the whole record I thought. Having said that the extras are more than just interesting - giving you a fascinating insight into his work process (there's a lovely intimacy to those Acoustic Demos especially).

Not one of his greatest albums for me then but if you're a fan there's the beefy remastered sound – quality presentation - and a reasonable price tag for a 2CD Deluxe Edition. Meathawk Immaculate indeed...

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc