Friday, March 09, 2018

Faces - First Step (Wrong Name - "Small Faces" in The US 1970)

Size: 230 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: SHM-CD Limited Remaster
Artwork Included

First Step was the first album by the British group Faces, released in early 1970. The album was released only a few months after the Faces had formed from the ashes of the Small Faces (from which Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan hailed) and The Jeff Beck Group (from which Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood hailed.) The album is credited to the Small Faces on all North American issues and reissues, while record labels for initial vinyl printings give the title as The First Step.

The album cover shows Ronnie Wood holding a copy of Geoffrey Sisley's seminal guitar tutorial First Step: How to Play the Guitar Plectrum Style.

The album was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in London very soon after the group's official formation (although the band members had been performing together in various combinations since April 1969). At 47:13 it is the band's lengthiest original release and many critics regard it as promising, but sprawling and unfocused - their least cohesive and most undisciplined offering. Accordingly the album reached no higher than #119 on the Billboard charts. 

It is perhaps the most democratic of the Faces releases, affording as it does each member of the group at least one composer credit. Highlights include Ronnie Lane's folksy "Stone", the hard-rocking "Shake, Shudder, Shiver", "Three Button Hand Me Down" (on which both Lane and Wood play the bassline, affording the track a unique sonic quality in the Faces catalogue), and the soulful "Flying".

The notorious sloppiness of the Faces was apparent on their debut, almost moreso on the cover than on the music, as the group was stilled billed as the Small Faces on this 1970 debut although without Steve Marriott in front, and with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood in tow, they were no longer Small. They were now larger than life, or at least mythic, because it's hard to call an album that concludes with a riotous ode to a hand-me-down suit as larger than life. That was the charm of the Faces, a group who always seemed like the boys next door made good, no matter where next door was. 

Part of the reason they seemed so relatable was that legendary messiness -- after all, it's hard not to love somebody if they so openly displayed their flaws -- but on their debut, it was hard not to see the messiness as merely the result of the old Faces getting accustomed to the new guys. 

Fresh from their seminal work with Jeff Beck, Rod and Ron bring a healthy dose of Beck's powerful bastardized blues, bracingly heard on the opening cover of "Wicked Messenger," but there's a key difference here; without Beck's guitar genius, this roar doesn't sound quite so titanic, it hits in the gut. 

That can also be heard and Rod and Woody's "Around the Plynth," or "Three Button Hand Me Down," which is ragged rocking at its finest. 

Combine that with Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan finding their ways as songwriters in the wake of the Small Faces' mod implosion, and this goes in even more directions. Lane unveils his gentle, folky side on "Stone," McLagan kicks in "Looking Out the Window" and "Three Button Hand Me Down." 

All these are moments that are good, often great, but the record doesn't quite gel, yet that doesn't quite matter. 

The Faces is a band that proves that sometimes loose ends are as great as tidiness, that living in the moment is what's necessary, and this First Step is a record filled with individual moments, each one to be savored.

The Album US 1970:
01. Wicked Messenger - 04.07
02. Devotion - 04.56
03. Shake, Shudder, Shiver - 03.14
04. Stone - 05.38
05. Around the Plynth - 05.51
06. Flying - 04.17
07. Pineapple and the Monkey - 04.24
08. Nobody Knows - 04.05
09. Looking Out the Window - 05.01
10. Three Button Hand Me Down - 05.48

Bonus Tracks:
11. Behind the Sun (Outtake) - 05.29
12. Mona - The Blues (Outtake) - 05.05
13. Shake, Shudder, Shiver (BBC Session) - 02.46
14. Flying (Take 3) - 04.41
15. Nobody Knows (Take 2) - 04.42

Rod Stewart Bonus Tracks:
16. Rod Stewart - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl [UK 1964] - 02.09
17. Rod Stewart - I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town [UK 1964] - 02.54
18. Rod Stewart - The Day Will Come [UK 1965] - 02.45
19. Rod Stewart - Why Does It Go On [UK 1965] - 02.47
20. Rod Stewart - Shake [UK 1966] - 02.50
21. Rod Stewart - I Just Got Some [UK 1966] - 03.40
22. Rod Stewart - Little Miss Understood [UK 1968] - 03.38
23. Rod Stewart - So Much To Say [UK 1968] - 03.14

Part 1: Faces
Part 2: Faces
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Part 2: Faces
Part 1: Faces
Part 2: Faces

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Article for the day...

California 'Dream-in' Billboard Magazine Jule 1967

Ash Ra Tempel - Selftitled (Great German Progressive Rock 1971)

Size: 94 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

The group was originally founded by guitarist Manuel Göttsching, keyboardist/drummer Klaus Schulze, and bassist Hartmut Enke in 1971. All three founding members had previously played together as part of the short-lived group Eruption founded by Conrad Schnitzler. Prior to that Schnitzler and Schulze had worked together in Tangerine Dream.

A short-lived project Manuel Göttsching had in 1970 was the Steeple Chase Blues Band, which also included Hartmut Enke, Wolfgang Müller, and Volker Zibell.

Ash Ra Tempel released its self-titled debut album in June 1971. This release is considered by critics to be a classic of the genre; Schulze temporarily departed for a solo career shortly after its release. Schwingungen (1972), Seven Up (with Timothy Leary) (1972), and Join Inn (1973) are all considered key works from the band. The pop-oriented 1973 album Starring Rosi was thus named because it featured lead vocals by Rosi Mueller.

Their music is widely characterized as cosmic and atmospheric. The early albums were more psychedelic-oriented and all had one lengthy track per side: one more powerful and dramatic, the other of a more atmospheric nature.

Ash Ra Tempel's last concert performance took place in Cologne in February 1973.

Later, after recording the soundtrack Le Berceau de Cristal (1975; unreleased until 1993) Ash Ra Tempel shortened its name to Ashra, making a more melodic, synthesizer-based music. In 2000 the band was reunited in the line up of Manuel Gottsching and Klaus Schulze. The pair had previously worked together on Schulze's album In Blue.

01."Amboss" – 19:40
02."Traummaschine" – 25:24

1. Ash Ra Tempel
2. Ash Ra Tempel
3. Ash Ra Tempel

Extradition - Hush (Australian Acid Folkrock 1971)

Size: 92.6 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Hush, the original vinyl album recorded by Sydney group Extradition, remains one of the most rarest albums released by an Australian artist. Prices several years ago were above $100, but unlike many other albums of the early seventies, this album is not rock nor blues orientated. Instead it mixes folk, traditional folk with avant garde ideas, yet remains very listenable, even to this day. 

Having been to several folk festivals over the past few months, I can attest that several of their songs reflect the influence of English folk, particularly when vocalist Shayna Karlin takes on lead vocals: she has a classic, clear vocal sound reminiscent of Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention, although other scribes suggest Pentangle and Incredible String Band might also be other comparison reference points. 

I also hear nuances of Steeleye Span. However it is the creative input from Colin Campbell and Colin Dryden that pushes the normal boundaries of folk towards more less travelled paths. On tracks like Original Whim, drummer Robert Lloyd, uses unusual percussive instruments and rhythms, without losing the interest of the listener. Lloyd later became more interested in World music, which he explored at the time in 1971, before World music became a recognised genre. The band also used unusual instruments such as a harmonium (on the classical instrumental Minuet) or the sitar sounding vina on A Woman Song. Other instruments include bamboo flute, glass chimes, harpsichord and gongs. This re-issue of the original album includes 6 bonus tracks, all from a live recording of the band in concert. For my money two of these constitute the best tracks on the album. Honeychild and In the Evening are a traditional folk song and the latter is a cover, in the blues folk idiom. 

Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem of Oscar Wilde set to music, and they do a very creditable version of Tom Paxton's Hold On to Me Babe. Dear One is a homage to the band's spiritual leader, Meher Baba. The melody is very strong and if you can ignore the lyrics - ie if you are not a convert, this is a very pleasant outing. I liked the use of the male chorus underpinning of A Moonsong. The 16 page booklet which accompanies the set, is among the best liner notes of any re-issue album in the country, putting all the major labels to shame yet again. 

Ian McFarlane has done a great job researching the release by tracking down most of the original members and including comments and excerpts from their interviews. Despite the obscure nature of the original release, this album deserves to be heard by a much larger audience. However don't expect to hear a progressive rock band; this is slow paced, gentle folk and washes of sound. Still this CD re-issue should be of interest to any collector of seventies' music. 

01. A Water Song 
02. A Love Song
03. Original Whim
04. Minuet
05. A Moon Song
06. Dear One
07. A Woman Song
08. I Feel The Sun
09. Ice
10. Song For Sunrise

1. Extradition
2. Extradition
3. Extradition