Friday, 28 June 2019

Tangerine Dream - Phaedra & Hippolytus (1973)

The big news for fans of Tangerine Dream is the release of the 18 disc box set of all of their Virgin albums issued between 1973 and 1979. Not only does it include remastered and remixed versions of classic albums like 'Phaedra'. 'Rubycon', and 'Ricochet' ,but it also treats us to the full 70-minute recording of the 1974 lost album 'Oedipus Tyrannus', excerpts of which I posted here back in January. As if that wasn't enough we also get three live albums, from The Rainbow and Victoria Palace in 1974, and The Royal Albert Hall from 1975, all recorded in superb sound quality, and featuring the band at the absolute peak of their powers. Lastly, and most unbelievably of all, there are over one and a half hours of out-takes from the 'Phaedra' sessions at The Manor Studios in 1973. It's almost too much to take in, but I gravitated straight to the 'Phaedra' out-takes, and bearing in mind how TD improvise a lot of their music, these aren't just alternate versions of the finished tracks, but totally different works in progress for the eventual album. I thought they were just too good to leave tucked away as bonus tracks so I decided to take a few of them and make a companion album, and as 'Phaedra' was named after the Greco-Roman tragedy, I've kept that theme and titled this one after the main participants, renaming two tracks to make it a concept album about them. For the actual music I've kept the 20-minute 'Phaedra Out-Take version 2A', used a renamed 'Organ Piece' as a bridge, and then joined 'Phaedra Out-Take 2B' to 'Phaedra Out-Take 1' for the final piece, making a 42-minute alternative album. I'm still working my way through all the live stuff, and will then check out the rest of the out-takes, but I've already ear-marked a couple of them for another alternate album, probably called 'Second Day'. I tried to go for a suitably cosmic feel for the cover, which I think has come out pretty well, and if you are a fan of the band then I would highly recommend this box set, as it's worth it just for all the previously unreleased material on there, let alone the great Steven Wilson remixes of the albums themselves.



Track listing

01 Phaedra
02 Theseus
03 Hippolytus

Enjoy / Enjoy

Uriah Heep - The Time Will Come (1976)

Following the success of the 'Demons And Wizards' album, Uriah Heep released 'The Magician's Birthday just six month later, in November 1972, once again housed in a superb Roger Dean sleeve. Further touring helped to gain them an increasingly large fanbase, as well as honing the band's stage-craft, with David Byron becoming the focal point of the whole group's stage presentation, and Ken Hensley developing into a sophisticated instrumentalist and stage persona, whose writing and keyboard flair ignited the rest of the band. Not surprisingly, a live album followed in 1973, lavishly packaged with an eight-page booklet, and while that held the attention of the fans the band decamping to Chateau d'Herouville in France to record the rather mainstream-sounding 'Sweet Freedom'. This was also released in 1973, and the band had ditched the sword and sorcery lyrics in favour of more contemporary themes. When 'Wonderworld' appeared in 1974 it disappointed fans and band members alike, having been recorded in a disruptive and volatile atmosphere, with Byron's drinking and Thain's drug intake, combined with the emotional time that Hensley was going through. making for a less than productive environment. 
Matters came to a head while on tour during September when Thain received a serious electric shock on stage, resulting in the rest of the US tour being canceled, and their UK dates rescheduled to October. Soon after getting out of hospital, Thain was fired after accusing manager Gerry Bron of turning the band into a mere 'financial thing', and a year later, on 8 December 1975, he was found dead in his Norwood Green home, having overdosed on heroin. John Wetton joined the band in March 1975, and with him on board they recorded the 'Return To Fantasy' album, representing a revitalised Uriah Heep. It reached No. 7 in the UK album charts, and the band were on a high, although bad luck continued to dog them, with Mick Box falling off stage in Kentucky and breaking the radial bone in his right arm, and John Wetton receiving an electric shock on stage the following year. 'High and Mighty' was released in June 1976, but was generally considered lightweight after the return to form '...Fantasy', with the blame being laid squarely at the band's door, and their decision to produce the album themselves. So that takes us to the end of 1976, and with major changes in the offing, we can take a break and listen to the non-album b-sides and unreleased songs that they recorded between 1972 and 1976. 



Track listing

01 Sunshine (b-side of 'Stealin'' 1973)
02 Gary's Song (previously unreleased 1972)
03 What Can I Do (b-side of 'Something Or Nothing' 1974)
04 Love, Hate And Fear (previously unreleased 1974)
05 Stones Throw (previously unreleased 1974)
06 Shout It Out (b-side of 'Return To Fantasy' and 'Ptima Donna' 1975)
07 The Time Will Come (b-side of 'Return To Fantasy' 1975)
08 I Close My Eyes (previously unreleased 1976)
09 Name Of The Game (previously unreleased 1976) 
10 Does Anything Matter (previously unreleased 1976)
11 Take Care (previously unreleased 1976)
12 Sundown (previously unreleased 1976)


The Electric Prunes - You've Never Had It Better (1969)

The Electric Prunes were one of the best US garage bands of the 60's, but will forever be associated with their two hit singles, 'Get Me To The World On Time' and 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)'. As good as those songs are, and they are classics of the psychedelic genre, the band had so much more to offer in their rather short and extremely complicated career. They formed Los Angeles in 1965 and signed to Reprise Records in 1966, releasing their first single 'Ain't It Hard in the latter part of the year. Their first album, 'The Electric Prunes', included those two nationally charting songs, alongside an impressive set of other tracks which showcased their unique style. For their second album 'Underground', the band was more free to create their own material, and some of the songs had a harder psychedelic edge to them, like 'The Great Banana Hoax' and 'Long Day's Flight'. However, the original group disbanded in 1968 when they proved unable to record the innovative and complex arrangements by David Axelrod on the albums 'Mass in F Minor' and 'Release Of An Oath'. Both albums were released under the band's name, as the rights to it were owned by their record producer David Hassinger, but the music was largely performed by other musicians, and so it's debatable whether they should really be included in the band's canon of work. The final album on which the group wrote and played their own music was 1969's 'Just Good Old Rock And Roll', but after touring the album throughout 1970 and 1971, the band broke up. During their career they did release a few singles which were not from albums, as well as recording a handful of songs that were never issued at the time, and as this collection includes alternate versions of some of their hits, as well as b-sides and rare singles, then it's a fine overview of this great band. 



Track listing

01 Ain't It Hard (single 1966)
02 Little Olive (b-side of 'Ain't It Hard')
03 Everybody Knows (You're Not In Love) (single 1967)
04 You've Never Had It Better (b-side of 'Everybody Knows (You're Not In Love)) 
05 Shadows (promo single 1968)
06 Hey Mr President (single 1968)
07 I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (mono single take 1966) 
08 Flowing Smoothly (b-side of 'Hey Mr President')
09 Sanctus (mono single take 1968)
10 Credo (mono b-side of 'Sanctus')
11 The Great Banana Hoax (alternate take)
12 I've Got A Way Of My Own (1966 out-take released for Record Store Day 2016)
13 Get Me To The World On Time (mono single take 1966)
14 World Of Darkness (1966 out-take released for Record Store Day 2016)
15 Long Day's Flight (alternate take) 

 Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Various Artists - House Breaking (Second Offence) (1989)

As promised, here is the second of my mixes of late 80's House music, courtesy of the John Peel show. Once again, a couple of these were quite big at the time - 'Doctorin' The House' and 'Voodoo Ray - but with some of the pieces I never got an actual title at the time and so couldn't find the tracks online, and for those I've had to use my original cassette recordings from 30 years ago. Hopefully they don't sound too bad compared to the newer recordings.



Track listing

01 Doctorin' The House (Speng Mix) - Coldcut Featuring Plastic Man And The Plastic    
People / Ha Ha Ha - Unknown Remix / Voodoo Ray - A Guy Called Gerald /
Help! - Unknown Remix / The Dream - Swan Lake /  Dance With The Devil - The Project 
Club / Hey Hey Mama - Unknown Led Zeppelin Remix / Big Band House - Aqua Regia

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 21 June 2019

Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong - Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong (2008)

Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong were a UK jangly indie-pop band from the mid 2000's, who were originally called Joe Lean And The Tantrums. In 2008, the band supported The Cribs on the 2008 NME Awards Tour, and showcased their sound at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. They played 25 gigs throughout April and May, after their second single 'Lonely Buoy' was released in March 2008, and later that year they recorded their debut album, with promo copies being issued to journalists, resulting in an 8 out 10 review in the NME. However, despite this acclaim the release was suddenly cancelled the following week, with the band saying that the songs no longer represented their music at that time, but unfortunately they never got the chance to rerecord the songs before they split up in 2010. Maxim Barron, Dominic O'Dair and Tom Dougall formed a new band, a psychedelic/post-punk act called Toy, and have released a number of well-received albums, while James Craig now plays in One Night Only alongside his brother George. Joe Lean also acts under the name Joe Van Moyland, and played Jamie Chapman in the UK sitcom 'Peep Show'. Luckily I downloaded the album as soon as I saw it online as I already knew the band from their singles, and so now you too can also hear the record that the band didn't think was worth hearing, but which I think is a great collection of jangly pop songs of the period.



Track listing

01 Lucio Starts Fires
02 In Competition
03 Where Do You Go
04 Baby
05 Brooklyn
06 Dear Rose
07 I Ain't Sure
08 Why Did You Break My Heart
09 Far Too Early To Tell
10 Lonely Buoy
11 Teenagers
12 Light And The Dark
13 Adelaide

Enjoy / Enjoy

Rachel Flowers - Hearing Prog Is Believing (2018)

Rachel Flowers was born in 1993 in National City, California, arriving 15 weeks prematurely, and weighing just one pound five ounces. She lost her eyesight at three months due to retinopathy of prematurity, but from a very young age she exhibited an extraordinary musical talent, being able to pick up melodies immediately, and was soon playing by ear every song she heard. As what you are about to read might seem a bit unbelievable, then before you carry on, check out this Youtube video of her playing Emerson, Lake And Palmer's  'Tarkus' entirely from memory at age 19, on Emerson's actual Modular Moog, which I believe was being renovated by her family at the time. Rachel has perfect pitch, and at.four and a half years old she began her formal music training through the Southern California Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano, music theory, ear training, music history, Braille music code, and adaptive computer music applications. While studying, she learned to play the flute and saxophone, and some mallet instruments, and is also proficient on piano and keyboards, and can play guitar, chapman stick, and bass. Her great musical loves are jazz and progressive rock, but she can also turn her hand to classical, soul, and R&B, but it's her superlative interpretations of classic prog rock that I'm featuring here. There are a number of videos of her playing on Youtube, and many other songs posted on Soundcloud, so do check them all out, and she is currently working on her second album of original songs. The cover is based on the poster for the 2017 film of her life, 'Hearing Is Believing'.



Track listing

01 Red King Crimson)
02 Trilogy (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
03 Larks Tongue In Aspic Part I (King Crimson)
04 Larks Tongue In Aspic Part II (King Crimson)
05 2nd Bridge from 'Five Bridges' (The Nice)
06 Starless (King Crimson)

Due to potential licencing issues I've been asked by Rachel to remove the links to this album, but she's happy for you to listen to the music on her Soundcloud page, so links are now the song titles.


Rialto - Untouchable Songs (1998)

Rialto emerged from the remains of the band Kinky Machine, who released two albums in 1993 and 1995, when singer Louis Eliot and guitarist Jonny Bull recruited bassist Julian Taylor, keyboardist Toby Hounsham, and drummer Pete Cuthbert, later replaced by Anthony Christmas, and formed Rialto. Over the next couple of years they released a clutch of great singles, and one of my all-time favourite albums in 1998. Their first singles, 'When We're Together' and 'Untouchable', alerted me to the band, and when I bought the CD's I found that every one had at least one new song on the b-side, often the equal of the A-side. Despite the anticipated arrival of their self-titled debut album, East West Records dropped them from their label, with China Records jumping in and releasing the album on 13 July 1998 instead. In September Rialto played a gig at the University of Leeds during freshers’ week, which members of the audience have subsequently described as 'fucking shite', and following that debacle they didn't release any more music for a further two years. The six-track 'Girl On A Train' EP followed in 2000, receiving accolades from NME and Q magazines, but by the time the band gathered to make a second album, Hounsham and Christmas had left the group, leaving them as a three-piece, and they finally released their second and final album, 'Night on Earth', in 2001. To be honest I've never heard it, as it can only be a disappointment after that astounding debut, but there are enough songs hidden away to make the second album that they could, and should, have released in 1998. 



Track listing

01 Vinegar Vera (b-side of 'When We're Together' 1997)
02 Los Angelenos (b-side of 'When We're Together' 1997)
03 Lipstick Letters (b-side of 'Untouchable' 1997)
04 King Of Karaoke (b-side of 'Untouchable' 1997)
05 The Red Telephone (b-side of 'Untouchable' 1997)
06 Little Comedian (b-side of 'Monday Morning 5.19' 1997)
07 Kieslowski (b-side of 'Monday Morning 5.19' 1997)
08 The Hand That Used To Feed (b-side of 'Dream Another Dream' 1998)
09 Subway (b-side of 'Dream Another Dream' 1998)
10 Wild Is The Wind (b-side of 'Dream Another Dream' 1998)
11 Playground Song (b-side of 'Dream Another Dream' 1998)
12 Skyscraper (b-side of 'Summer's Over' 1998)
13 Slo-Mo Death Blow (b-side of 'Summer's Over' 1998)

Enjoy

Various Artists - House Breaking (1988)

While I was on holiday I was treated to a non-stop bombardment of modern dance music from the bar, and as it's not really my favourite genre I had to try to drown it out as much as possible by listening to heavy rock and loud indie on the headphones. However, it did remind me that I didn't always dislike dance music, and back in the good old days, when John Peel was alive and Radio 1 was actually worth listening to, I used to record his shows every night and listen to them in the car on the way to work, and if he played something that I liked that I wouldn't be able to find in the record shop then I used to re-record them onto a cassette tape. He played a lot of the new emerging hip hop and dance music in the late 80's, mostly electronic and often including (illegally sourced) samples from old films and TV shows and weird sound effects, and I really liked some of them, so before long I had enough for a couple of hour-long compilation tapes. When I got back from holiday I decided to dig them out to see if I still liked them, and it turns out that I do. They included a number of tracks that have since become House standards, like 'Beat Dis' and 'Doctorin' The House', so I've sourced better quality copies where possible, and mixed them into two forty-minute albums. If you fancy a trip down memory lane to relive the beginnings of the Chicago House scene then dive in, and the second volume will be along shortly. 



Track listing

01 The Finest Ingredient - DJ Megamix / Theme From S'Express - S'Express /
Beat Dis - Bomb The Bass / Hey Rocky - Boris Badenough /
Paid In Full - Eric B. & Rakim / Check This Out - L.A. Mix / Shake! - Gene & Jim / 
Sure Beats Working - Beats Working / Beats & Pieces - Coldcut

Enjoy / Enjoy

Monday, 10 June 2019

The Rutles - Get Up And Go Again - Live (2019)

Well, I went to see the band last night, and it was a brilliant gig. They played just about everything I could have asked for, as well as a couple of George Harrison covers, and I decided to try to tape it on my mp3 player as a souvenir, and as it didn't come out totally unlistenable then here it is for anyone who wants to hear it. The vocals vibrate a bit on the loud songs, but I've toned down the bass to help, and Neil's banter is always worth hearing. Just try to ignore the idiot at the end who thought that banging his glass on the wall was better than applauding. 
I'm on holiday now for a week, so posts will resume when I get back



Track listing

01 I Must Be In Love
02 It's Looking Good
03 Ouch!
04 Between Us
05 Baby Let Me Be
06 Major Happy's Up And Coming Once Upon A Good Time Band
07 Questionnaire
08 Nevertheless
09 Joe Public
10 Lonely-Phobia
11 Living In Hope
12 Love Life
13 Let's Be Natural
14 Poem / Knicker Elastic King
15 Piggie In The Middle
16 Number One
17 Please Hold My Hand
18 Doubleback Alley
19 Good Times Roll
20 Another Day
21 Goosestep Mama
22 A Girl Like You
23 Hey Mister!
24 Handle With Care (George Harrison)
25 Easy Listening
26 Shangri-La
27 Cheese And Onions
28 Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik
29 Imitation Song
30 All Things Must Pass (George Harrison)
31 Blue Suede Schubert
32 Get Up And Go
33 Back In 64
34 I'll Sing You A Song

Enjoy 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Warsaw - Warsaw (1978)

I think most people know that before they were Joy Division the band were called Warsaw, and recorded four songs at Pennine Sound Studios in December 1977 for their debut EP, released as 'An Ideal For Living' in 1978. What people might not know is that the band recorded a whole demo album for RCA Records the same year, at Arrow Studios in Manchester, which comprised eleven songs from their then-current repertoire. However, the band were disappointed with the label's post-production work and the deal fell through, with the album subsequently being scrapped. These sessions circulated on bootlegs for years, generally bearing the 'Warsaw' title, until the tracks were eventually licensed for a commercial release in 1994, appearing alongside 'As You Said' from the 1980 'Komakino' single, and including the band's first recorded music, the five 'Warsaw Demo' tracks from 1977, once again recorded at Pennine Sound Studios in Manchester. It came with frankly disappointing artwork for such an iconic band, so for this post I've extracted the 11 album tracks and housed them in something a bit more stylish, and then made the five 1977 recordings into a companion EP entitled 'Inside The Line'. I've omitted 'As You Said' as this was recorded some years after the other tracks, and is easily available on numerous other compilations.  



Track listing - 'Warsaw'

01 The Drawback
02 Leaders Of Men
03 Walked In Line
04 Failures
05 Novelty
06 No Love Lost
07 Transmission
08 Living In The Ice Age
09 Interzone
10 Warsaw
11 Shadowplay





Track listing - 'Inside The Line'

01 Inside The Line
02 Gutz
03 At A Later Date
04 The Kill
05 You're No Good For Me

Enjoy / Enjoy

Iain Matthews - Later On (1973)

Iain Matthews (born Ian Matthews MacDonald, but changing his name to avoid confusion with Ian McDonald of King Crimson) is an English musician and singer-songwriter, and was an original member of Fairport Convention. He left in 1969 to form his own band, Matthews Southern Comfort, which had a UK number one in 1970 with a cover version of Joni Mitchell's 'Woodstock'. He was influenced by both rock and roll and folk music, and has performed as both a solo artist, and as a member of various bands, including Fairport Convention during their early period, when they were heavily influenced by American folk rock. He initially embarked on a solo career, and his first album was called 'Matthew's Southern Comfort', and was rooted in American country music and rockabilly. It included Matthew's original songs alongside choice covers from Neil Young and Ian & Sylvia, and he then kept the band together, naming them after the debut album (dropping the apostrophe), and recorded two more albums with them in 1970. In 1971, Matthews recorded two solo albums ('If You Saw Thro' My Eyes' & 'Tigers Will Survive'), and the following year he formed Plainsong with Andy Roberts, previously of The Liverpool Scene, and released the classic 'In Search Of Amelia Earheart' album. There were a few songs recorded during the sessions for their first album which wouldn't fit on the record, and they've recently surfaced on compilations, so I've taken them and added some 1970 radio sessions from the band, a demo for Matthews' 'Journeys From Gospel Oak' album, and a few Plainsong radio sessions, including their take on the title track of his 1972 solo album, for this retrospective of Iain Matthews' early career.



Track listing

01 Touch Her If You Can (Matthews Southern Comfort out-take 1969)
02 Yankee Lady (Matthews Southern Comfort out-take 1969)
03 Belle (Matthews Southern Comfort out-take 1969)
04 Later On (Matthews Southern Comfort out-take 1969)
05 I Believe In You (Matthews Southern Comfort out-take 1969)
06 Not Much At All (Matthews Southern Comfort radio session 1970)
07 Baby Ruth (Matthews Southern Comfort radio session 1970)
08 Hearts (Matthews Southern Comfort radio session 1970)
09 Christine's Tune (Iain Matthews demo 1972)
10 Seeds And Stems (Plainsong radio session 1973)
11 Spanish Guitar (Plainsong radio session 1973)
12 Tigers Will Survive (Plainsong radio session 1973)


Walter Becker & Donald Fagen - You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It (1971)

'You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat' is a 1971 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Locke, involving a young hippie and his search for the meaning of life while in Central Park. Its soundtrack includes some of the earliest released music by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who later became the core duo behind Steely Dan, and the film also stars Richard Pryor in an early role playing his signature 'wino' character, as well as actor/director Robert Downey Sr, and it was edited by Wes Craven. Despite this plethora of future talent it wasn't a great film, and it's soundtrack is probably it's greatest legacy. Although strictly speaking this album does exist it's nigh-on impossible to track down, and so for Steely Dan fans who might not know of it, here's a tad over half an hour of Becker & Fagen playing together with Denny Dias in 1971. 



Track listing

01 You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It
02 Flotsam And Jetsam
03 War And Peace
04 Roll Back The Meaning
05 Dog Eat Dog
06 Red Giant - White Dwarf
07 If It Rains
08 You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It (Reprise)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Uriah Heep - Crystal Ball (1972)

The origins of Uriah Heep go back to 1967, when 19-year-old guitarist Mick Box formed a band in Brentwood called Hogwash, and began playing in local clubs and pubs. When the band's singer left, drummer Roger Penlington suggested his cousin David Garrick as a replacement, and Box and Garrick instantly formed a songwriting partnership. They both decided to give up their day jobs and turn professional, and formed a new band called Spice, and it was at this time David Garrick changed his surname to Byron. Drummer Alex Napier and bassist Paul Newton of the Gods completed the line-up, and from the very beginning, Spice avoided playing covers and always strove to do something original. They were soon signed by Gerry Bron, who became their manager, and he got them signed to the new Vertigo label. While booked into the Lansdowne Studios in London, they decided on a name change to that of the well-known character from Charles Dickens' 'David Copperfield', Uriah Heep, although they continued to play as Spice until keyboardist Ken Hensley joined in 1969. Their 1970 debut album, '…Very 'Eavy …Very 'Umble', introduced the heavy organ and guitar-driven sound, with David Byron's theatrical, dynamic vocals soaring above thunderous sonic background, but it wasn't popular with rock critics, although in retrospect the attitude towards it has changed. The band's second album 'Salisbury' was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra, and went a long way to perfecting Uriah Heep's blend of heavy metal power and prog rock complexity. 
Following a change of drummer to Iain Clark, they also moved labels after the Vertigo deal ended, and Gerry Bron set up his own label, Bronze Records. Their third album 'Look At Yourself' was recorded in the summer of 1971, following which Iain Clark was replaced by Lee Kerslake, and New Zealander Gary Thain joined on bass. This line-up then set about recording the classic 1972 album 'Demons and Wizards', which sported a stunning Roger Dean sleeve, and a more straightforward, hard-rocking approach. This album introduced Uriah Heep to a much wider audience, and even broke the Top 20 album chart in the UK, and this post collects some of the out-takes and rare b-sides from this three year period of the band's history, and shows the quality of the songs which didn't make the cut for the albums. They continued to record more material than was needed for their next few records, and so this is the first of a few posts which will include out-takes and b-sides from their later work.



Track listing

01 Born In A Trunk (previously unreleased 1970)
02 Simon The Bullet Freak (b-side of 'Lady In Black' 1971)
03 Here Am I (previously unreleased 1971)
04 Crystal Ball (previously unreleased 1972)
05 Silver White Man (previously unreleased 1972)
06 Why (b-side of 'The Wizard' 1972)
07 Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf (previously unreleased 1972)
08 Home Again To You (previously unreleased 1972)
09 Green Eye (previously unreleased 1972)


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Lindisfarne - Red Square Dance (1995)

Lindisfarne will forever be remembered for the song 'Fog On The Tyne', although they were so much more than just that. They started out in the mid-60's under the name of Brethren, and when Alan Hull joined in 1968 they changed their name to Lindisfarne, named after The Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of Northumberland. In 1970 Tony Stratton-Smith signed them to Charisma Records and their debut album 'Nicely Out Of Tune' was released that year, defining their mixture of bright harmony pop and up-tempo folk rock. Although neither single released from the album, 'Clear White Light' or 'Lady Eleanor', charted, the band obtained a strong following from their popular live concerts and built a reputation as one of the top festival bands. Their second album, 1971's 'Fog On The Tyne' began their commercial success, reaching number 1 in the UK charts the following year, and the single 'Meet Me On The Corner' charted at number 5 in the UK. 'Lady Eleanor' was reissued as a follow-up to 'Meet Me On The Corner', and this time it reached number 3 in the UK and number 82 in the US. 'Nicely Out Of Tune' belatedly made the UK album chart Top 10 and the band began to attract a larger media following, with some calling Hull the greatest songwriter since Bob Dylan. In 1972 they recorded their third album 'Dingly Dell', but the band were unhappy with the initial production and so remixed it themselves, and although it entered the Top 10 in its first week of release, it received lukewarm reviews.
Internal tensions surfaced during a disappointing tour of Australia in early 1973, and Hull initially considered leaving the band, but was persuaded to reconsider. It was agreed that he and Jackson would keep the group name while Cowe, Clements and Laidlaw wold leave to form their own outfit called Jack The Lad. They were replaced by Tommy Duffy (bass guitar), Kenny Craddock (keyboards), Charlie Harcourt (guitar) and Paul Nichols (drums), but the new line-up lacked the appeal of the original, and with Hull also pursuing a solo career, the band's next two albums 'Roll On Ruby' and 'Happy Daze' failed to chart, and they disbanded in 1975. The original line-up of Alan Hull, Ray Jackson, Ray Laidlaw, Rod Clements and Simon Cowe reformed in 1976 to perform a one-off gig in Newcastle City Hall before returning to their other projects, but the Newcastle City Hall reunion was so acclaimed that the band repeated it a year later, and then decided to get back together on a permanent basis in early 1978. They gained a new record deal with Mercury Records and returned to the charts in 1978 with the UK top 10 hit 'Run For Home', but by then I'd moved on and preferred to remember them for their first few classic albums. They carried on recording albums right up to 2002, and so I was quite surprised to find a recent retrospective which featured tracks recorded in the late 80's and early 90's which sounded just a good as their 70's stuff, so I've taken those songs and added them to some exclusive b-sides and early out-takes, to make an album which in no way sounds like it was recorded over a 35 year period. The title track has an interesting story, as it was originally submitted as the theme to the Moscow Olympics following a suggestion from the runner Brendan Foster, and was completed just as the USSR invaded Afghanistan. A version of it, entitled 'Dog Ruff', was released as the b-side to their 'Nights' single in 1982 so as not to waste it, and I've gone for a literal interpretation of the title for the cover.



Track listing

01 Knackers Yard Blues (b-side of 'Clear White Light - Part 2' 1970)
02 Nothing But The Marvelous Is Beautiful (b-side of 'Lady Eleanor' 1971)
03 From My Window (out-take from the 'Nicely Out Of Tune' sessions 1970)
04 Golden Apples (out-take of a 1969 song recorded in 1981)
05 On My Own I Built A Bridge (out-take from the 'Nicely Out Of Tune' sessions 1970)
06 Newport Mount Rag (out-take 1974, featuring Mark Knopfler)
07 Scotch Mist (b-side of 'Meet Me On The Corner' 1971)
08 No Time To Lose (b-side of 'Meet Me On The Corner' 1971)
09 Drinking Song (an early song recorded in 1995)
10 Finest Hour (out-take 1981)
11 Save Our Ales (single 1989)
12 Red Square Dance (Theme for the Moscow Olympics 1980)
13 Friday Girl (single 1983)

Enjoy / Enjoy