The Hot Rock - Original Motion Soundtrack and More
@1972 US Pressing
Quincy Jones delivers a sultry jazz score to the greatest caper film ever made. This baby has been sampled a lot in the last four decades, and it’s not hard to see why - I mean, damn, look at his house band: Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, Grady Tate, Ray Brown. The perfect soundtrack to waiting out that trance state you get into every time someone says “Afghanistan banana stand.” This LP was designed with a gatefold sleeve cut down to a 3.5-inch flap that folded down over the cast photo when closed.
Who Came First
@1972 UK Pressing
This is Meher Baba.
He was born in India in 1894. Beginning in 1925, until his death in 1969 he remained silent, never speaking one word.
Though I could’ve sworn I heard him say some words to The Fonz and Ralph Malph.
"Don’t worry - try the fish"
He gained many followers throughout the world who followed his teachings. In 1954 he declared himself “The Avatar of the age.” Which apparently meant he is a human form of God, and does not mean that he could either bend air and/or turn blue. His last words (communicated by signing) were “Do not forget that I am God.”
And you know who didn’t forget that and doesn’t want you to forget that?
Pete Townshend, guitarist for The Who.
In 1972, Pete released Who Came First, his first major label solo album.
While it got mostly positive critical reviews, it was not a major hit, as it only peaked #69 on the Billboard Album charts.
In name it is a solo album, but it is oddly made up of demo songs by The Who, other people’s songs, and lots and lots of Baba.
Who Came First starts off on a high note with “Pure and Easy.” It sounds like a song by The Who, and you know what? That’s probably because it was. It is a demo song for The Who. After the success of Tommy, Pete Townshend set out to write another rock opera. Lifehouse was originally intended to be a science-fiction film and corresponding album, but the idea was ultimately abandoned by the band. However, most of the songs intended for Lifehouse went on to be the center of The Who’s next few albums, “Baba O’Reilly”, “Bargain,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Won’t get Fooled Again,” “Who Are You” to name a few.
Whether the title of Lifehouse inspired the name of the dopey 2000’s band, that I can’t confirm nor deny.
Doth thou see what Creed hath spawned?
The album’s second song is called “Evolution,” and according to Townshend’s accompanying notes on the album cover, “Ronnie Lane Sings and plays guitar. I play lead acoustic.” Okay, that’s fine if Pete doesn’t sing lead vocals on a song on his own solo record, there is a precedent for that with Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, and Ted Nugent. Also Ronnie Lane wrote the song, so basically Pete is just doing session work here, but okay, that’s fine.
Track 3 is called “Forever’s No Time at All.” According to Pete, “The words were written by Mike McInnerny’s wife, Katie. Billie Nichols sings and plays acoustic. Caleb Quaye plays everything else.” Wait a sec. So Pete I guess stood in the corner and gave them a thumbs up while they were recording? He then slapped it on his own album, which, by the way, doesn’t seem to have any pictures of these people, just him…
and of course Baba…
and a donkey.
Track 4 closes out side 1 with “Nothing is Everything (Let’s See Action.)” And it’s a really good song…what’s that? Oh, it’s another song recorded for The Who’sLifehouse.
Pete’s solo career is “hanging by moment” here, eh?
On to side 2, which I will call “Ode to Baba.”
Most people know Pete used Baba as a basis for the synthesizer track on one of rock’s greatest anthems, “Baba O’Riley.” While Pete sticks with the Baba stuff on this album, nothing rocks quite like “Baba O’Riley” here. This is off topic, but according to Wikipedia, “Baba O’Riley” is the official theme song of competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut.
"Out here in the fields, I swallow hot dogs dipped in water for meals"
Track 1, “Time is Passing” is the song Pete wrote to play for a gathering of Baba’s followers, when he visited India in 1972, thus it makes the album. Not a bad song, nothing too memorable, though.
Next is “Heartache” a cover of a Jim Reeves song. Well I get that, he is probably one of The Who’s influences. Oh, that’s not it? Well, according to Pete’s liner notes, “it was Baba’s favorite song along with Begin the Beguine.” I wonder if Baba ever heard “Boris the Spider?”
Forget Baba, John should’ve dedicated his first album to Skeletor.
“Sheraton Gibson,” is a nice little ditty that seems out of place on the Baba-fest side of the album. It is sort of in the same vein of McCartney’s “Her Majesty” in that you can tell not much thought was put into the lyrics or music, yet it’s catchy and makes you feel good for a second.
“Content” is a poem written by a Baba follower, Maud Kennedy, that Pete put music to. It contains lines such as “I am receptive to the message to love” and “I am responsive to all that lives.” Pete is starting to push it here to make the awkward religious phrasing make sense in song. I have to say, out of context, those lines sound like something The Coneheads would say.
"We are responsive to all that lives"
The album closes out with “Parvardigar,” a song adapted from Baba’s Universal Prayer. Pete really strains to fit “Imperishable beyond conception, beyond our minds” and “none can see you without eyes divine” into a musical meter. However, the music sounds Tommy-esque, so I’m sure the teens listening in 1972 would say, “This rocks!”
In my opinion, George Harrison was probably the best at releasing overtly religious songs while maintaining his musical integrity. On a side note, I have to say I don’t see how what Pete is attempting here is really any different from what a band like Stryper was doing in the 80’s, mixing religion with rock music.
Do you love RATT? Do you love Jesus? Well then I’ve got some crap for you!
Not that I am defending Stryper’s terrible music, nor am I favorably comparing them to one of the great rock artists of all time. I’m just saying that, in this case, Pete is mixing his religious beliefs at the detriment of his music.
Let’s see, what does this say at the bottom of the back cover?
“All instruments, vocals, recording engineering, mixing, synthesizers, in fact everything except making the tea in one gynormous(sic) ego trip by Pete Townshend.”
Hmmm…a solo album that had one side with two songs written for your band, one song where you barely appeared, one that you had nothing to do with at all, and a whole side of the album pushing your religious beliefs? Ego trip? Hey, you said it. Not me.
Well, musically the two songs intended for Lifehouse are fantastic, “Forever’s No Time at All” has a neat beat to it even if Pete had nothing to do with it, “Sheraton Gibson” is a nice little song, and musically “Parvardigar” is interesting in spite of its lyrics.
So, overall, while my review may seem mostly negative, I still give Who Came Firsta mild recommendation. In my case, I paid $1 at a thrift store for the LP. I’d say it was well worth at least twice that.
This is the Last Track. Another Short Episode for the album
Some short clip from the amazon album
Trilogy for the Masses
@1968 US Pressing
Ford Theatre was one of the most promising bands of the 60’s that influenced by the bands such as The Kingsmen, The Beatles and The Byrds, although they recorded only 2 albums, both under the ABC Records label. The band’s first album Trilogy for the Masses was produced by Bob Thiele in 1968. The album’s band tracks were done at Fleetwood Studios in Revere, Massachusetts and the vocals were at Capitol Studios in New York City. And a year later their second album Time Changeswas produced by Bill Szymczyk who later went on to produce The Eagles. The second album was done at the Hit Factory in New York City.
After 1969, the band literally disappeared from records and their memory was overshadowed by the more successful bands of the ’70s. In a recent interview Jimmy Altieri stated that after the release of Time Changes, the band didn’t manage to get a new deal for a third album and the members decided to disband Ford Theatre in 1971.
A Great Bob Dylan Rendition.
Good playing combining Keith Jarrett Style of Playing with Pop Element
Oil On Canvas
@ 1983 Japan Pressing
Oil on Canvas is a live album by the British band Japan, released in 1983 by Virgin Records. Although it is a live recording of their established material, the album also contains three new instrumental studio tracks (“Oil on Canvas”, “Voices Raised in Welcome, Hands Held in Prayer” and “Temple of Dawn”), recorded separately by Sylvian, Sylvian/Jansen and Barbieri respectively. (The name of Barbieri’s track is taken from the novel The Temple of Dawn by the acclaimed Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima.)
Although the album was released some months following the band’s much publicised split in late 1982, it was ironically Japan’s highest charting album in the UK (where it reached #5). The album was certified “Gold” by the BPI in 1988 for 100,000 copies sold.
The live tracks on the double-album were taken from Japan’s performances in November 1982, during their final live concert tour. Since guitarist Rob Dean had left the band two years previously, Japanese session musician Masami Tsuchiya was added to the line-up on guitar and additional keyboards. The band also used backing tracks to supply additional instrumental parts (for example, in contrast to some previous tours where a guest saxophonist was recruited, many of Karn’s saxophone lines were played from tape).
A video version of Oil On Canvas was also available from Virgin Records. This was re-released on DVD in 2006 as “The Very Best of Japan”, which also features many of the band’s promotional videos.
Seven years after the release of Oil on Canvas the four members of Japan, David Sylvian, Steve Jansen, Mick Karn andRichard Barbieri, reunited for another studio album - but then under the group moniker Rain Tree Crow.
@1981 Canada Pressing
I think I can be impressed by a lot of solo piano project. This one as well. I always feel this album can be a Koln concert approach, but will more pop songs hook, that make the album more accessible.
Nevermind if this is a bad approach isn’t it?
Reach for it
@1977 Japan Pressing
By 1977, the jazz content of George Duke’s albums had decreased considerably, and soul and funk had become his main priorities. Reach for It has more to offer from an R&B standpoint than a jazz standpoint, though the fusion it does contain is first rate — including the Latin-influenced “Hot Fire” and “Lemme at It” (an aggressive gem that’s in a class with some of the keyboardist/pianist’s best work with the Billy Cobham/Duke Band). Reach’s heavy R&B content resulted in Duke facing the same accusation as George Benson, Patrice Rushen and other improvisers who moved away from jazz in the ’70s — that he was a sellout. But none of this CD’s R&B content comes across as contrived or formulaic. In fact, Duke is downright inspired on the haunting “Just for You” and the Parliament-influenced title song. Even so, it’s always regrettable when a gifted improviser pretty much abandons jazz — and Duke is a prime example. It should be stressed that the high rating awarded this CD is primarily from an R&B standpoint — and that those strictly interested in hearing Duke playing jazz would be better off investing in earlier efforts like Faces in Reflection.