June 25, 2004
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
While it's still not decided on who'll be pressing the BLACK SABBATH drummer stool at the forthcoming OzzFest, the keyboardist's place seems to be already occupied - by a young fellow called Adam Wakeman. The lad has been recruited by Ozzy Osboune for the latter's band but is likely to join Oz in his 'other' group.
If Adam's family name sounds familiar, that's because he's quite related to Rick Wakeman, whose parts graced "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Ozzmosis" and whose "Return To The Center Of The Earth" had Osbourne guesting. Adam is Rick's second son and a partner in WAKEMAN & WAKEMAN ensemble, so the credentials are good enough for him to fit into SABBATH... once the band decides if they still have the future together.
It seems while the West sways in contemporary groove, the states of the former Eastern bloc roll to classic rock. At least, there are two British rock stalwarts currently favoring working there.
The first is Ken Hensley, these very days recording the "Anthology" album in Moscow, with Russian musicians. Not keen on raiding his vaults for any rarities, Hensley opted for cutting his old songs anew - including some URIAH HEEP gems, like "Easy Livin'", "Sweet Freedom", "July Morning" and "Weep In Silence". When finished with this, Ken will delve into putting out a DVD of these sessions, his live performance with the President Orchestra and more.
The second Western aritst gone East is Hensley's former bandmate, John Wetton. Just like Fish or PENDRAGON, Wetton always has a storming success in Poland. Some years ago he released a wonderful "Nomansland" live set recorded there, and now found it appropriate to do more. Having started with the "Amorata" DVD, John has just issued an acoustic concert album called "Amata". Some may think it's funny that the first letters of these two titles make "AA" - what with the veteran's recent drinking problems - but this September will see another CD, "Agenda", the electric live show. Think different, then, because John's erstwhile group, ASIA's new album is their first with a title not beginning with "A"... Yet Wetton's studio one will be "The Eigth Ring".
As for "Amata", it looks like this:
The cover-mania rages on. Back in the old days it was young musicians who started out doing others' material. Not now, when this method works mainly for the 'name' artists. The ranks of those take in former DOKKEN axe-grinder, George Lynch, whose new outing, "Furious George", is brimful with classic tracks done in his own way. Let's just hope Lynch's young followers will pay attention and investigate where all the treasures come from. Here are the clues:
June 10, 2004
FIXING THE HOLES
If there is a band that always have some rumours circulating about them, that's surely THE BEATLES. Nothing wrong with it, yet when it goes to the Fabs, the information more often than not proves to be wrong, or at least hugely misinterpreted. This time, though, news seems to be a bit closer to reality: major sources say, the Merseyside's finest's music could soon be available for Internet download - legally. The negotiations about distribution are being held with such technology giants as Microsoft and RealNetworks.
Not that it's a bold step, with QUEEN and THE ROLLING STONES already taken it - the former, like THE BEATLES, being under contract to EMI - but the point which shouldn't be missed is that only few of The Fabs' songs have been digitally remastered, for "The Yellow Submarine Songtrack", so in this case digital download feels a tad hilarious. Still, back to the rumours field, there's a talk of possible remasters coming out in the relatively near future, with no official word neither on them, nor on the "Let It Be" DVD said to be near completion as well.
What can we expect this year, then? It's unlikely Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, who's currently on tour, will have enough time for their next albums. And Olivia Harrison and Barbara Orbison won't finish work on the TRAVELING WILBURYS' re-issues. So... Maybe Yoko Ono will remember that 2004 marks a 30th anniversary of John Lennon's brilliant "Walls And Bridges" and release it. Don't hold your breath, that's the punchline.
HE'S STILL GOT IT
For some people, divertion is a sin, and they're always feel much more comfortable in good old environment. One of those folks is Gary Moore: the Irish grinder has just put out a new album called unequivocally "Power Of The Blues". In fact, there's nothing new, even the members of the guitarist's trio played with him before - Darrin Mooney on Moore's lastest studio and live outings, respectively "Scars" and "Live At Monsters Of Rock", and bassist Bob Daisley, very active recently with the LIVING LOUD project, on some classical albums of Gary's. Even the producer duties Moore shared with old friend Chris Tsangarides, at hand since the THIN LIZZY days. And then, the music which includes two Willie Dixon's classics and one by Percy Mayfield. No surprises, really - that's why an aural satisfaction guaranteed. Yet the artwork department seems to have gone too far back...
ACROSS A WILDERNESS OF BLUE
The URIAH HEEP second re-issue programme, the "deluxe edition" one, has reached the John Lawton era, and the next two albums up for release are 1977's "Firefly" and "Innocent Victim". Both are augmented with a sprinkling of bonus tracks of dubious interest even for the Heepsters who have the most of them - and the fans must be warned about the possible change in these additional cuts: it's reported there's no song called "Zorro" that was marked to appear on the "Return To Fantasy" latest edition. Here's what's promised for the new editions:
NO TEA BEING SERVED
Of all places, for FLEETWOOD MAC Boston has a special meaning since Peter Green's band rocked the Tea Party back in 1970. Some don't know, though, what a hell of blues combo that ensemble was, and associate it only with sweet voice monster which gave the world "Rumours". And the artists themselves do nothing to remind the fans of the glorious start. More so, now the old Tea Party tapes are to be obershadowed by a new 2DVD / CD set "Live In Boston", out on June 15th. Recorded for the PBS Television series "Soundstage", the material included features many of the '70s hits as well as songs from the MAC's 2003's "Say You Will". But there's a serious doubt all this have even the half of the old three-guitar beast fiery energy.
In the meantime, Christine McVie who opted out of FLEETWOOD MAC's last album and tour, release a new record, her first in twenty years. It's called, well, "In The Meantime" and will hit the shelves on June 21st.
YES, THE RIVER KNOWS
River Records seem to break away from their rule of releasing live recordings of Scottish artists only and expand their activities to those whose concerts were housed by the Scottish venues. All the albums will be called The River Sessions" anyway.
One of the artists who played Glasgow Apollo is URIAH HEEP, and their 1985 stage set looked like this:
Then, there were mighty GILLAN - their ranks boasted one Scott indeed, John McCoy. To be relased in the USA only, the CD's tracklisting suggests the show was recorded in 1982, just before the band broke up:
And here, at last, the genuine Caledonian item, the one and only Maggie Bell. What year that could is anyone's guess, as the lady came up on stage that night with a curious selection including Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed" and NAZARETH's "No Mean City", the latter giving a hint the show couldn't be committed to tape before 1978:
GIVING THE HEAD
In the last two years, Brian Wilson's profile looms large. Not larger than the legend of THE BEACH BOYS' elusive mastermind, but... Having performed live, in their entirety, two greatest albums, "Pet Sounds" and "Smile", and getting ready to finally release the latter's studio version that he and Van Dyke Parks finally completed, Wilson didn't forget about new music and, riding on the crest of a wave, has a new record to offer. "Gettin' In Over My Head" features some very heavy friends, among them Paul McCartney, the only musician able to rival Brian for melodicism, Parks, who co-wrote "The Waltz", and the late young brother Carl whose lead vocal was used for "Soul Searchin'". Quite nice.
CLOSER TO SPIRIT
More and more, the Steve Hackett "Live Archive" series grows and grows and, with a concert set in perpetual motion, there's a real urge to have another title. And another title is "Live Archive 04" recorded on April 3rd in Budapest. Unlike the guitarist's previous show in the city, a new set is a full-band endeavour featuring takes on some more GENESIS' classics. There'll be a DVD of this, too, but late in the year, while the CD's out on June 28th.
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