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December 28, 2004

KINDNESS IN THE HARD CROWD

On November 26th, 1968 CREAM graced the Royal Albert Hall stage for their last concert ever, preserved for posterity on "Goodbye Cream". Or it was supposed to be their last. It's been supposed for a long time, the 1993's short performance at the power trio's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not counting. The three collaborated in pairs from time to time, lastly on Jack Bruce's "Shadows In The Air", where Eric Clapton guested on new versions of CREAM's "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love". Now, the old feud between Jack and Ginger Baker seems to be laid to rest, as Eric's announced the band's intention to come onto the same old stage again, for four shows in May 2005. Hopefully, Bruce's health has nothing to do with the threesome desire to make it again...

HEED THE SONG THAT CALLS THEM BACK

As the Yuletitude was drawing near, JETHRO TULL pulled on some seasonal activity again. After last year's "Christmas Album", this time they came up with an EP, "Merry Christmas", out in the UK. There's only three cuts on there, "Ring Out Solstice Bells" pinched out from the aforementioned album, and the other two live performances from the 2004 tour. It's a limited edition of only 2,500 copies, and Ian Anderson asks all the buyers to donate $1 to Wild About Cats via PayPal.

1. Ring Out Solstice Bells
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3. Slipstream

Also in limited quantity out is a special USA re-release of "Christmas Album", augmented with a bonus DVD containing three songs - "My Sunday Feeling", "Jack in the Green" and "Life's A Long Song" from the 2002's "Living In The Past" programme.

As for something more interesting, last November saw the release of TULL's "Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970" CD. A legendary performance known to many only by "My Sunday Feeling" that made it onto the "Message To Love" documentary soundtrack, now is here in its entirety, featuring "My God", then yet to see the light of day on "Aqualung":

1. My Sunday Feeling
2. My God
3. With You There To Help Me
4. To Cry You A Song
5. Beret
6. Dharma For One
7. Nothing Is Easy
8. Medley

HOT ROD

If there's a singer who can still wiggle out some croaky screams of rapture not only from a woman's heart but from a grown-up music lover, too, it's Rod Stewart. Deep into the American crooning classics lately, the nosy scot doesn't forget the songs that endeared him to almost everybody, and here's the proof: the "One Night Only!" DVD recorded earlier this year at the Royal Albert Hall. An indispensable purchase for those who's been hooked on Rod since his first glory days, as here's everything the fan needs, from "I Ain't Superstitious" and "Rock My Plimsoul", originally cut by Stewart with THE JEFF BECK GROUP, to the smashes which are "Sailing" and "Maggie May".

1. Tonight I'm Yours
2. This Old Heart of Mine
3. Handbags And Gladrags
4. Reason To Believe
5. Stay With Me
6. Hot Legs
7. Rhythm Of My Heart
8. First Cut Is The Deepest
9. You're In My Heart
10. Downtown Train
11. It Takes Two
12. What Am I Goin To Do
13. Baby Jane

14. I Ain’t Superstitious
15. Rock My Plimsoul
16. Blue Moon
17. Can't Take That Away From Me
18. What A Wonderful World
19. Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
20. For Sentimental Reasons
21. As Time Goes By
22. Have I Told You Lately
23. Tonight's The Night
24. Maggie May
25. Sailing

NOTHING STRANGE

Experimenting is not what Joe Lynn Turner is up for, mostly because his supporters don't like it that much. So while Turner's partner in crime, Glenn Hughes does his own thing, Joe sticks to what he's good at - melodic, soul-infused hard rock. On the same label, though. "The Usual Suspects", his new album, is out on February 21st. The title explains it all: the music is what everyone expects, the players, including Al Pitrelli, what everybody suspects. Who'll ask for more, then?

1. Power Of Love
2. Devil's Door
3. Jacknife
4. Really Loved
5. Rest Of My Life
6. Into The Fire
7. Blood Money
8. All Alone
9. Ball And Chain
10. Live And Love Again
11. Unfinished Bizness (European bonus)

LONG LOST JOHN

He seems to be ignored by people who don't know what Long John Baldry did to British popular music. Without him, the Blighty blues wouldn't be what it is now - and Reg Dwight, a keyboardist in Baldry's BLUESOLOGY, would be Elton Something-Other, not John. Sir El remembered his mentor when hit the big time, and with another John's band's alumnus, Rod Stewart, produced two singer's albums: 1971's "It Ain't Easy" and 1972's "Everything Stops For Tea". Which are to be re-issued in February with valuable bonus tracks. Note the other Jonh's - Dr. John's - "Iko Iko" on the second one.

It Ain't Easy
1. Conditional Discharge
2. Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie
3. Black Girl
4. It Ain't Easy
5. Morning Morning
6. I'm Ready
7. Let’s Burn Down The Cornfield
8. Mr Rubin
9. Rock Me When He's Gone
10. Flying
11. Going Down Slow
12. Blues
13. Black Girl (alt. version)
14. It Ain't Easy (alt. version)
15. I'm Ready (alt. version)
16. Love In Vain (unreleased)
17. Midnight Hour Blues (unreleased)

Everything Stops For Tea
1. Come Back Again
2. Seventh Son
3. Wild Mountain Thyme
4. Iko Iko
5. Jubilee Cloud
6. Everything Stops For Tea
7. You Can't Judge A Book
8. Mother Ain't Dead
9. Hambone
10. Lord Remember Me
11. Armit's Trousers
12. Bring My Baby Back (live)
13. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (with Joyce Everson)
14. I'm Just A Rake And A Rambling Boy

December 22, 2004

CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE. AGAIN?

Those who never heard what THE BEATLES' Xmas records were about, should find a way to tune to the BBC Radio 2 on December 27th to listen to a two-hour documentary about the seven seasonal flexi-discs produced exclusively for the Fab's British fanclub members in 1963-1969. Known by many bootlegs, the only officially released snippet of this spoken word and music extravaganza is "Christmas Time Is Here Again" from 1967 which made it to the 1995's "Free As A Bird" CD single as a B-side - if there's such a thing on CD - so the inevitable question is if all those cuts will be out any day soon. The answer is, probably, no - with some BEATLES' things, like the "Let It Be" DVD, to be finished yet, and the whole their catalogue still not remastered.

GET UP AND GO BACK HOME

It's been done and delayed and much talked about and postponed and, on August 16th, 2003, premiered, and almost derailed, and all this seemed deranged - yet all of this was rather fitting for the new and eagerly-awaited THE RUTLES' project. "Can't Buy Me Lunch" is out on March 1st, 2005, finally! The sequel to the 1978's mockumentary on THE BEATLES' glory road and decay way features, along Eric Idle, Neil Innes and Ricky Fataar as the pre-Fab Four, such luminaries as David Bowie, Bonnie Raitt, Robin Williamson, Tom Hanks, Salman Rushdie, Jewel and more. And more. And more. Yet, it seems, no John Halsey this time - but should THE RUTLES reunion tour of America have all the original band members when there's no Fabs anymore to found a story about? Still, a laugh is a laugh, and the film has bucketful of it.

THE ROYAL COMPANY

Some still call it a speculation, yet with the source being Roger Taylor's interview on German TV - the clip can be found on the Web - that rings true: in 2005 there can be the QUEEN with Paul Rodgers tour. Quite a clever choice of a singer to replace the irreplaceable Freddie Mercury, as the former FREE / BAD COMPANY vocalist is a legend in his own right and couldn't be influenced by dear old Fred. Whether Paul is able to handle the task is out of question, with all the doubts blown away by his performance of "We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions" medley, along with FREE's anthem "All Right Now", at the first annual UK Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony on November 11th, 2004. QUEEN's Brian May announced Rodgers as "our friend and hero", and it really is so - in 1993, Brian supplied a guitar solo for "I'm Ready" off Paul's Grammy-nomimated "Muddy Water Blues", and on September 24th, 2004 the two performed at the Fender's 50th Anniversary show at Wembley Arena. The "Strat Pack" concert DVD will be released next spring; hopefully, the QUEEN & Rodgers tour will bring live recordings as well. As of the dates, there's still none to report of.

Except for which surely will be recorded for posterity: on March 19th there'll be the second 46664 concert staged in South Africa under auspices of Nelson Mandela to benefit the AIDS charity.

RULING, NOT REIGNING

He's called The Guv'nor and rightly so, as there's hardly any other man who has contributed to English folk rock greater than Ashley Hutchings. A mighty presence in such seminal ensembles as FAIRPORT CONVENTION, ALBION BAND and STEELEYE SPAN, Ashley's a multi-faceted figure with the only miss being his failure at restoring SWEENEY'S MEN, but The Guv'nor's work surely deserves proper anthologizing. And that's what "Burning Bright" is about: a wonderful - like all the Free Reed label releases, the good example being "Fairport unConventioNal" - box set comprised of four thematic CDs and a "'write-in" fifth one, of classic, rare and previously unissued material, plus 136-page full-colour book. The set was compiled with Hutchings' approval and cooperation and will be out on January 26th, the man's 60th birthday. A present - for him and for us all.

CD 1 - Ashley's Almanac:

1. Working Underground - with Friends (unreleased)
2. Coming In To Land - Ashley Hutchings
3. This Blessed Plot - Judy Dunlop & Barry Coope
4. St George For England - ALBION COUNTRY BAND
5. New St George / La Rotta - ALBION COUNTRY BAND (BBC)
6. Albion Heart - ALBION BAND (live)
7. Telstar - Ashley Hutchings' BIG BEAT COMBO
8. Eternal Circle - with Friends (live)
9. It Takes A Lot To Laugh (excerpt) - FAIRPORT CONVENTION (live)
10. Mr Lacey - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
11. Come All Ye - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
12. One Night As I Lay On My Bed - STEELEYE SPAN
13. Albion Sunrise - ALBION BAND
14. Poor Old Horse - ALBION BAND (live)
15. Time To Ring Some Changes - ALBION BAND (radio session)
16. Along The Pilgrim's Way - ALBION BAND
17. The Party's Over - ALBION BAND
18. Angelina - Ashley Hutchings’ ALL STARS
19. Abandoned Love - with Friends (live)
20. Wings - ALBION BAND (single version)
21. About Dawn - RAINBOW CHASERS (unreleased)

CD 2 - Dance and Drama:

0. High Level Hornpipe (excerpt) - SAWDUST BAND
1. Dancing Till Monday Comes Around - ALBION DANCE BAND (live)
2. Gloucester Hornpipe / Mr Trill's Song - THE MORRIS ON SHOW (live)
3. Sharp On Morris (excerpt) - ALBION CHRISTMAS BAND
4. Staines Morris - MORRIS ON BAND
5. Tunes From Terpsichore (excerpt) - ALBION BAND
6. William Prynne (edit) - Bernard Hepton
7. Liege And Lief Medley - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
8. Dowd's Favourite / Ј10 Float / Musical Priest - STEELEYE SPAN (BBC)
9. Princess Royal - ALBION COUNTRY BAND
10. Shepherds Hey / Orange In Bloom / The Quaker - THE MORRIS ON SHOW (live)
11. Boz (edit) - Michael Hordern
12. Spirit Of The Dance / Shooting - ALBION BAND
13. Cup O' Tea vs Batter Pudding - Ashley Hutchings
14. Rapid Polka - Ashley Hutchings’ DANCE BAND
15. Soldier's Joy - ALBION BAND
16. Twistin' Til Monday Comes Around / Twistin' Welsh Girls (excerpt) -
The Ashley Hutchings' BIG BEAT COMBO

17. Dancing Under The Rose - Polly Bolton
18. The Day Thou Gavest - ALBION BAND
19. Keep The Home Fires Burning (edit) - ALBION BAND
20. Shepherds Arise - THE NATIVITY
21. Horn Fair - ETCHINGHAM STEAM BAND
22. We Sing Hallelujah - ALBION BAND
23. Rattlebone (edit) - Ashley Hutchings
24. Wooden O - ALBION BAND
25. Maria Marten - Shirley Collins

CD 3 - Authored by Ashley:

1. On Seeing Grace Slick - Ashley Hutchings (live)
2. If It Feels Good - FAIRPORT CONVENTION (BBC)
3. Dancing To The Drummer's Beat - Ashley Hutchings’ DANCE BAND
4. Crocodile Line - ALBION BAND
5. When My Son Has Grown - ALBION BAND
6. Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump - ALBION BAND (live)
7. The Rose And The Rock - ALBION BAND
8. Press Gang - ALBION BAND
9. Nothing Can Turn The Tide - ALBION BAND
10. Tomorrow And Tomorrow - ALBION BAND
11. Our Stolen Season - Emily Slade
12. We Lie - ALBION BAND
13. Brief Encounters - Ashley Hutchings (live)
14. Ivory Tower - ALBION BAND
15. Kitty Come Down The Lane - ALBION BAND
16. Along The Downs - RIDGERIDERS (live)
17. Brambles On A Hill - RAINBOW CHASERS (new recording)
18. Poor Dress Maker - Nesreen Shah
19. Lovely Joan - Martin Carthy
20. Bargees (excerpt) - Keith Christmas
21. The Crow And The Cradle - Judy Dunlop

CD 4 - Trad. arr. Hutchings:

1. A Calling On Song - STEELEYE SPAN
2. Appalachian Front Porch Game - ALBION BAND
3. Pine Mountain (excerpt) - Ashley Hutchings (new recording)
4. Matty Groves - Cecil Sharp
5. The Deserter - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
6. Doin' Time To Fit Your Crime - Tams, Boyes & Simpson
7. Rambleaway - ALBION BAND
8. Didn't He Ramble - ALBION BAND
9. Gallant Poacher - ALBION COUNTRY BAND
10. Jack-In-The-Green On Saturday Night - MORRIS ON BAND
11. Hopping Down In Kent - Shirley Collins (session)
11a. Hopping Down In Kent - John Tams (live)
12. Cuckoo's Nest - MORRIS ON BAND
13. Broomfield Hill - ALBION BAND
14. Captain Coulston - STEELEYE SPAN
15. Flandyke Shore - ALBION BAND
16. Wolfe - ALBION BAND (live)
17. Rebecca Johnson - ALBION BAND
18. He Ran Out Of Road - ALBION BAND
19. Claudy Banks - Various Artists (radio broadcast)
20. Somerset Wassail (excerpt) - ALBION CHRISTMAS BAND

CD 5 - Visions Of The Daughters of Albion:

1. Rainbow Over The Hill Edit - Linda Thompson (1978) & Chris While (1993)
2. One Sure Thing - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
3. Reynardine - FAIRPORT CONVENTION
4. Dark-Eyed Sailor - Gay Woods
5. Prince Charlie Stuart - Maddy Prior
6. Bonny Kate - Shirley Collins
7. London Waterman - June Tabor (live)
8. Beware Of Blue - Cathy Lesurf (live)
9. Madness Of Love - Polly Bolton
10. Singers Are In Short Supply - Elaine Morgan (demo)
11. Woodlands Of England - Judy Dunlop
12. Jewel In The Crown - Julie Matthews (live)
13. Man In A Bottle - Chris While (live)
14. The Star - Kellie While
15. Seeds Of Love - Kathryn Roberts (BBC)
16. Potter's Dream - Gillie Nicholls
17. Appalachian Front Porch Game - Emily Slade
18. It Is Not For The Want Of Will - Jo Hamilton (unreleased)
19. Who Knows Where The Time Goes? - Various Artists (live)

December 9, 2004

THE LEMMINGS' GATHERING

It's been almost 30 years since VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR played together in its original quartet form of Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton, Guy Evans and David Jackson - if we don't count a happening at one of the Anglo psychos' birthday party. Now Hammill broke the news on the band planning to come forth on-stage again, at the Royal Festival Hall on May 6th, 2005. And then there's a talk of some double album to be released to tie-in with the show, although it's not clear whether it'll be new studio or archival recording - or this is to be recorded there and then and issued later on.

MOVING THROUGH THE SOUL FAIR

There's no cures for unstoppable Glenn Hughes, and the frequency with which he puts out another album could be shameful if not for the ever-growing quality of the veteran's songs. And here's more and more of those. On January 24th, the Funkmeister releases a follow-up to 2003's "Songs In The Key Of Rock". Titled "Soul Mover", it features now a regular Hughes' sidekick Chad Smith of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, on drums, usual suspects JJ Marsh on guitar and Ed Roth on keyboards, plus ex-Chili Pepper and current JANE'S ADDICTION guitarist Dave Navarro on the title track. Well, if Glenn puts "soul" in a title, that means something!

1. Soul Mover
2. She Moves Ghostly
3. Change Yourself
4. High Road
5. Let It Go
6. Dark Star
7. Miss Little Insane
8. Land Of The Living
9. Isolation
10. Last Mistake
11. Orion
12. Don't Let Me Bleed
13. Soul Mover (video)

IN A DARKEST HOUR

Contrary to their name and pedigree, MIDNIGHT FLYER didn't soar to the sky. That band was the delicious Maggie Bell's concoction, but neither her powerhouse voice, nor Ant Glynne's guitar and Tony Stevens' bass mastery, nor Dave Dowle's drumming and BAD COMPANY's Mick Ralphs' production, prevent their only album, which was released in 1981, from bombing. Even though the drummer's former group, WHITESNAKE, were making it big time then, the timing wasn't right for Bell's blues. The record became a rarity and never made it onto a CD - yet it will make, in early 2005. The album is to be issued by Angel Air in its entirety, with their only single sides as bonus tracks. This time is the time to fly!

1. Hey Boy
2. Love Games
3. French Kisses
4. In My Eyes
5. Over And Over
6. Last Resort
7. Do You Want My Love
8. Sweet Loving Woman
9. What Ever I Want
10. Midnight Love
11. Rough Trade
bonus tracks:
12. Rock ‘n’ Roll Party
13. Waiting For You

ELECTRIC CARAVAN

It's a shame that Bernie Torme just can't escape being associated with GILLAN the band, and maybe it's quite right because, without the guitarist, a certain singer could have had troubles cutting it from his initial jazzy solo trends to a more fitting hard rock. Those who saw Bernie live in the last decade, though, say it's something adorable and exciting, but, unfortunately, Torme is rarely seen outside the UK. So it's about time to get hold of a DVD called "Stratocaster Gypsy", which comprises concert footage with promotional stuff, as well as an interview with the man, his discography and biography:

1. Ghost Walking (promo video)
2. Shoorah Shoorah (promo video)
3. Star (live)
4. Frontline (live)
5. Hardcore (live)
6. Turn Out The Lights (live)
7. (My Baby Loves A) Vampire (live)
8. Wild West (live)
9. Mystery Train (live)
10. TVOD (live)
11. Burning Bridges (live)
12. Star (promo video)
13. Black Sheep (TV Clip)
14. Hardcore (TV Clip)
15. Sex Action (live)
16. Slip Away (promo video)

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