Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota had turned out to be the final album of Peggy Lee's lengthy tenure at Capitol Records, and 16 months after its release the 54-year-old singer returned to the record racks on Atlantic Records with Let’s Love, touted as a comeback assisted by a former Capitol labelmate, former Beatle Paul McCartney, who wrote and produced the title song especially for her. That may have been the headline grabber, but the LP that was bookended by the song “Let’s Love” and its reprise actually was more the product of Lee and Dave Grusin's efforts, under the auspices of Atlantic executive Nesuhi Ertegun. Lee and Grusin co-produced the rest of the tracks, adopting a sophisticated contemporary pop/jazz sound. Grusin was an expert at this sort of fusion style, incorporating elements of gospel, R&B, and funk, and Lee was very much on board with the approach. As on her later Capitol albums, she presented her versions of recent hits like James Taylor's “Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” andthe Stylistics' “You Make Me Feel Brand New.” When she and Grusin did essay a standard like the ones she had been singing for 30 years, they made a point of transforming it. Irving Berlin's “Always” may have a 1925 copyright, but here it sounds like the Pointer Sisters' “Yes We Can Can.” The co-producers also included a couple of string-filled ballads to make old fans welcome, however, with Lee adding lyrics to Grusin's movie theme “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and doing Karen Carpenter one better on Henry and Felice Mancini's “Sometimes.” As for “Let's Love” itself, it's a fairly typical McCartney effort of the period, not as bombastic as “My Love,” but in the same vein with some obvious arranging tricks that do not detract from its appeal, and Lee, as she does with all the material here, sings it effectively.
The title track from the album “Sonny Side of Cher”
Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come
Galactic Zoo Dossier
@1972 Germany Pressing
After the collapse of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1970, when keyboardist Vincent Crane and drummer Carl Palmer left to eventually form Atomic Rooster, Brown worked with a varied group of musicians on projects called Strangelands, Puddletown Express, and (briefly) the Captain Beefheart-influenced Rustic Hinge, before finding the musicians who would make up Kingdom Come. Chief among these was guitarist Andy Dalby, who was the only consistent member after Brown himself.
Apart from Brown and Dalby, the band included (at one time or another) Victor Peraino (keyboards), Julian Paul Brown (no relation, keyboards), Michael Harris (keyboards), Phil Shutt (bass, later known as Phil Curtis), Desmond Fisher (bass), and Martin Steer (drums). “Ace Bentley,” credited with drums on the final Kingdom Come album, was actually the Bentley Rhythm Ace, an early drum machine manufactured by the Ace Tone company of Japan (Ace Tone later evolved into the Roland Corporation).
Brown stated in an interview with an English music magazine that the three albums were intended to present a thematic progression. The first focused on the state of humankind in the present, the second on the human animal itself and the dichotomy between the body and mind, and the third focused on cosmic and spiritual matters.
Kingdom Come were one of the first bands to use synthesizers, notably the VCS3, an early British synth used by Pink Floyd and Brian Eno among others at the time. The Mellotron and Theremin also figured prominently in the group’s repertoire, especially after the addition of Victor Peraino in the band’s line-up. On the final album, Journey, recorded in November 1972, there was no drummer either on the record or on tour; all the drum sounds were from the Bentley Rhythm Ace, operated either by Victor Peraino or by Brown himself. Journey was the first album on which a drum machine produced all the percussion.
A number of factors contributed to the end of Kingdom Come, including mediocre album sales, critical disdain, the revolving door membership of the band, and Brown’s frustration with the music business in general. The band dissolved rather than officially breaking up, with Brown citing a desire to play simpler music and opt for a simpler lifestyle in general in later interviews.
Paul Desmond dedicated a whole album to Paul Simon’s music and the result is quite promising. Here is the highlights of the album
The Magic of Believing
@1968 US Pressing
Dionne Warwick got her start in gospel music, so it’s no surprise that she would record a gospel album, or that she would share credit with the Drinkard Singers, a gospel vocal group featuring her mother and her aunts and uncles.Warwick sings solo on only the first two tracks, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Somebody Bigger Than You and I,” before the Drinkards weigh in with her for the rest of the disc. Fans of Warwick's pop-soul records will at times have difficulty recognizing her here; she occasionally sings in a higher register than usual, and she is often more overtly emotional than on her deliberately restrained pop hits. Clearly, however, this is music close to her heart, and she and the Drinkards perform it without any concessions to pop style; this is traditional gospel music, traditionally sung.
The Sonny Side of Cher
@1966 US Pressing
After the success of her previous album, Cher quickly recorded another album. The Sonny Side of Chér was in the chart with the second studio album of Sonny & Cher, The Wondrous World of Sonny & Cher. The album follows the same formula of the previous album with rearranged covers and new songs written by Bono. The Sonny Side of Chér was overall less successful than the previous release, but produced bigger hits than the first album did. It contains Cher’s first solo Top Ten hit, the Bono-penned song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. With “Bang Bang”, Cher was definitively settled in the American pop culture. The album also had two songs with French influence, “A Young Girl” and “Our Day Will Come” and Edith Piaf’s famous “Milord”.
Like her previous album All I Really Want to Do, Cher covered one song written and performed by Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”. The album also included Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”, the popular song ”Our Day Will Come” and “The Girl from Ipanema”. Other covers are “A Young Girl” and “Ol’ Man River” (which shows the huge vocal power Cher already had on this early album).
The Sonny Side of Chér received mixed reviews from music critics. Tim Sendra of Allmusic gave two and a half stars for the album and compared it to the previous album, saying “Sonny Bono tinkers with the folk-rock formula that had made [Cher’s] previous album such a delight and ruins everything, leaving the album as nothing more than a chuckle-inducing curiosity, just the kind of silly record casual listeners might expect from the duo.” About the album said that “is doomed by its lack of heart and inability to rise above the formulaic.”
This is the first song performed for the first artist in the first ever Woodstock Festival
Gil Evans and His Orchestra
There Comes A Time
@1975 US Pressing
The CD reissue of' differs greatly from the original LP of the same name. Not only are there three previously unreleased performances (“Joy Spring,” “So Long,” and “Buzzard Variation”), but “The Meaning of the Blues” has been expanded from six minutes to 20, and two numbers, “Little Wing” and “Aftermath the Fourth Movement/Children of the Fire,” have been dropped (the former was reissued on ' tribute album) and the remaining four tracks were re-edited and remixed under ' direction. So in reality, this 1987 CD was really a “new” record when it came out. The remake of “King Porter Stomp,” with altoist in 's spot, is a classic. The “new” version of “The Meaning of the Blues” is memorable, and overall the music (which also has solos by and on tenors, along with trumpeter ) is quite rewarding, it’s a creative big band fusion that expertly mixes together acoustic and electric instruments. This was one of ' last truly great sets. [This is the original issue without the bonus tracks.]
The League Of Gentlemen
@1980 HK Pressing
The album emerged at the extreme tail-end of the Post-punk/New wave period in UK music just as the scene was evolving into more diverse musical ideas which eventually gave birth to ‘alternative rock’.
It was released in the same month as the NME and Rough Trade combined to release a mail-order compilation of the music of the UK Post-punk/New wave scene. This, now classic, compilation was released in the form of the C81 promotional cassette tape and effectively marked the end of the scene it celebrated and the start of the ‘Indie’ period.
So the ‘League of Gentlemen’ was released at a cultural cusp. The band had been positioned by Fripp himself as a “new wave instrumental dance band” which would suggest that he considered the music produced by the band to be ‘New wave’ in character. Commentators have pointed to the rawness of the production as significant in so far as this approach had been popular among producers of Post-punk/New wave recordings of the time.
It may be that Robert Fripp was seeking to make his music fit to the prevailing ‘alternative’ style of the time or it may simply be a reflection of the speed with which the record was recorded and released at the end of an exhausting tour. Whatever the motivation or the underlying reasons the music seems to fit well with the Post-punk scene, a feeling which is only re-inforced by the socio-political messaging laid over the tracks in the form of vocal samples. The musical backbone of the album is the spiky and complex interaction between guitar and keyboards and the repetitive and gradually developing nature of the melodic themes to which the bass and drums provide a utilitarian (or simply uninspired) backdrop.
The Absolute Games
@1980 UK Pressing
Initial copies came with a limited edition second disc entitled Strength Through Joy, a collection of material recorded during The Absolute Game sessions but omitted from the album. Its songs apparently feature members of the band playing each other’s instruments. Richard Jobson, Skids’ lead singer, later stated that this title had been taken from Dirk Bogarde's autobiography and was not based on the Nazi slogan Kraft durch Freude. However, it continued the controversial theme of the first release of Days in Europa, which had also been withdrawn after accusations of Nazi glorification.
@1966 US 1st Pressing Mono
The first of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's three Atlantic albums (reissued on a Koch CD in 2000), this excellent set falls between hard bop and the avant-garde, often hinting at both. Hubbard's regular group of the time (with James Spaulding on alto and flute, pianist Albert Dailey, bassist Bob Cunningham, and drummer Otis Ray Appleton, plus guest conga player Ray Barretto) performs the debut version of his famous “Little Sunflower,” an excellent remake of “Up Jumped Spring,” and four lesser-known pieces. Hubbard and Spaulding made for an excellent team and there are plenty of exciting moments on this brief but potent set.
@1971 UK Pressing
On their second album, Uriah Heep jettisons the experiments that weighed down Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble and works toward perfecting their blend of heavy metal power and prog rock complexity. Salisbury tips the band’s style in the prog direction, containing one side of songs and one side dominated by a lengthy and ornate epic-length composition. Highlights on the song-oriented side include “Bird of Prey,” a soaring rocker that blends furious, power chord-fuelled verses with spacy, keyboard-drenched instrumental breaks, and “Lady in Black,” a stylishly arranged tune that builds from a folk-styled acoustic tune into a throbbing rocker full of ghostly harmonies and crunching guitar riffs. The big surprise on this side is “The Park,” a ballad-style song built on a light blend of acoustic guitars and ethereal keyboards. It has a gentle, appealingly psychedelic feel that is topped off by David Byron's falsetto vocal and some soaring harmonies from Byron and Ken Hensley. However, Salisbury is undone by its title track, the 16-minute track that dominates the album’s entire second side: it feels more like a lengthy jam session instead of a prog epic with distinctive and carefully crafted sections. Another problem is that the overly busy brass and woodwind arrangements that have been grafted onto it intrude on the group’s sound instead of fleshing it out. All in all, Salisbury is too unfocused for the casual listener but offers enough solid songs for the Uriah Heep completist. Collector’s note: The American version of this album had different cover art (the tank on the British edition was replaced by a gruesome image of man tearing out of his own skin) and replaced “Bird of Prey” with a bluesy B-side entitled “Simon the Bullet Freak.”
Lew Lewis Reformer
Save the Wail
@1979 UK Pressing
Lewis was brought up in the same Canvey Island street as Lee Brilleaux who taught Lewis to play harmonica. Lewis’ first performances were as a member of the Southside Jug Band on Canvey Island, which included future Dr Feelgood members Brilleaux and John B Sparks, together with Chris White. Guitarist Dave Higgs joined and they renamed themselves the Fix.
Higgs later invited Lewis to become a member of Eddie & the Hot Rods, where Lewis performed on their first two singles “Writing on the Wall” and “Wooly Bully” he was known as a wild frontman, but left “after falling out with the management”.
He then released a solo single for Stiff Records, their fifth single “Boogie on the Street” / “Caravan Man”, backed by a thinly disguised Dr Feelgood; the B side of the single later appearing on Hits Greatest Stiffs. Briefly moving to United Artists Records he released “Out for a Lark” / “Watch Yourself”, which could credit Brilleaux and Sparks, as they were on UA. He returned to Stiff for his next single “Lucky Seven” / “Night Talk” (1978) his most successful single, which led to his appearing on Top of the Pops and which was covered by Dr Feelgood on their album Sneakin’ Suspicion and also appears in the film Oil City Confidential.
His album Save the Wail (1979) produced by Paul Riley, featured Buzz Barwell (ex Dr. Feelgood) and Bob Clouter (Ex Mickey Jupp’s The Orioles) on drums, Rick Taylor and Pete Zear on guitars and Johnny Squirrel on bass, collectively known as Lew Lewis Reformer, they were, stylistically, “between pub rock and blues-rock”. They toured Europe, being particularly popular in France and appeared on Musikladen in 1979. Also in 1979 Lewis, Dr Feelgood and Jools Holland performing as “The Oil City Sheiks” issued a single “Don’t Take but a Few Minutes” / “Blues Jam”
Lewis was also a guest on several albums, including The Stranglers’ Black and White (1978), Jean-Jacques Burnel’s Euroman Cometh (1979), The Clash’s Sandinista! (1980), Kirsty MacColl’s Desperate Character (1981), Sniff ‘n’ the Tears Ride Blue Divide (1982) and Wilko Johnson’s Bottle Up and Go! (1983).
In 1987 Lewis was given a seven-year jail sentence for armed robbery, after holding up a post office with a fake pistol, stealing £5,000 and trying to escape on a shopping bike.