Wednesday 18 May 2011

Go ask Alice...

Before Alice Cooper the solo artist there was Alice Cooper the group...
A little bit earlier and with an almost identical line-up they were called the Nazz (pictured above) and before then the Spiders, complete with spider web and all!
The Spiders second 45 issued in 1966 is a fantastic slab of Garage-Punk with snotty vocals and crunching guitars. The Yardbirds were a great influence as witnessed also by a version of "I'm a man" that was never issued. I believe there's a whole lot of covers from this time that appeared on at least one bootleg...but I never heard it.
Back in 1964 in Phoenix Arizona, Vince Furnier on vocals, Glenn Buxton on lead guitar and Dennis Dunaway on bass, all three future Alice Cooper, formed the Earwigs that also included John Tatum on guitar and John Speer on drums.
It was this line-up that in Sept 1965, now known as The Spiders released their first 45:
Why don't you love me / Hitch Hike
The following Summer John Tatum left and the new Spiders would release the aforementioned second single, the fantastic "Don't blow your mind" / "No price tag".
Apparently the only guy that turned up for the vacant left by Tatum was Michael Bruce, previously of the Trolls and recently departed from the brilliant Wildflowers.
Here included are the Wildflowers two singles plus a great track that appeared about 10 years ago on the fantastic comp Legend City that focuses on Phoenix bands.
The Wildflowers almost sound British being influenced by the Beatles circa "Rain", especially on the cool "More than me".
I'm not entirely sure but I reckon both singles are from 1966, albeit the B-side of the first sounds like it could be is also, for me, the weakest track, the rest though is outstanding and the previously unissued "One more chance" a real find!
In 1967 the band became The Nazz, taking their name from the Yardbirds song "The Nazz are blue" and by the end of the year Neal Smith will replace John Speer on drums.
They will release only one single, whose fantastic B-side "Lay down and die" shows the band in full psychedelic mode with piercing eastern-like guitar.
They will also start working in the months to come at songs that eventually will appear on "Pretties for you", Alice Cooper debut album released in 1969.
Since somebody else in Philadelphia had the same idea about naming his band after the Yardbirds tune, early in 1968 the band will become Alice Cooper.

The Spiders
01 Why Don't You Love Me
02 Hitch hike
03 I'm Cryin (Live)
04 I'm A Man
05 Don't Blow Your Mind
06 No Price Tag
07 Don't Blow Your Mind (alternate)
The Wildflowers
08 A Man Like Myself
09 On A Day Like Today
10 More Than Me
11 Moving Along With The Sun
12 One More Chance
The Nazz
13 I Wonder Who's Loving Her Now
14 Lay Down Die Goodbye
15 Changing Arranging (Acetate)

Tuesday 11 January 2011

I Messaggeri: Folk-Rock Messengers from Northern Italy, 1966-1967

I discovered this totally obscure band about 15 years ago and had been thinking of posting for too long, so here they are!
Even as an Italian and a 60s fanatic they were certainly unknown to me but thanks to the great Beat archeology work of the label Destination X such gems were uncovered after years of gathering dust, misunderstood and often scorned upon by the same Italians, "the good bands came from England or the United States" way of thinking...
Not that the recording industry helped much either, in fact the band only managed to release a single in 1966 for Bluebell a label from Milan and a second projected one never materialized.
A real shame considering that after their great debut, a cool two-sider in typical Italian Beat style with Folk-Rock leanings, the band went a step further, flying eight miles high as demonstrated by "Qui" (Here) with its 4:30 mins and its excellent flip (or was it the other way round?)
The Byrds were without a doubt a prime influence, also dig those McGuinn glasses.
Brilliant stuff!
Younger than yesterday!

Torna da me / Piú dolcemente tu vivrai (Bluebell, 1966)
Qui / Non sai molto di me (previously unreleased, recorded 1967)

Wednesday 24 November 2010

CALEIDOSCOPIO: Psychedelic Sounds from Italy

"Io vedo nei muri sbocciare fiori tropicali dai mille splendidi colori che mi esplodono di dentro come mai..." (Equipe 84)
I almost posted this comp about a couple of years ago, when the blog was running on a fairly regular basis.
In fact it did end 2 years ago, without being dead as such...most links still work and I've just re-upped the Planets LP that somehow had disappeared from my files (see original post).
The centrepiece of this collection of Psychedelic sounds from my native country is what I consider a little jewel and a real oddity in the Italian Pop music landscape.
Chetro & Co. sole 45 is a work of Art that begins with the sleeve that folds several times revealing a collage of different images.
I'm pretty sure there weren't that many singles around clocking at over 5 mins. as "Evening Dances (Suite in Psychedelic mode)" does.
Do not worry if you don't understand the lyrics based on a poem by famous film director Pasolini, it's the music that captivated me in the first place, drawing influences from the Middle-Ages, the East and everything in between!
The B-side translates as "Milestones"...Mr Davis being the prime inspiration there.
They even invented their own instrument, a "violaccia", described as a 6 to 10 string instrument that uses a bow...
Another interesting rarity is the only 45 by Le Mani Pesanti (The Heavy Hands)whose A-side is a protest against capitalist society, with lines like " not thanks for those golden chains, it's so you can produce more...( "A Neon God").I love the dreamy B-side, both sides are great and I would buy it for the great sleeve alone!

Also included and from the opposite spectrum of popularity is my favourite track from "Stereoequipe" the 1968 masterpiece by Equipe 84 and the first album to be released only in stereo in Italy. The song starts with lyrics about tropical flowers blossoming from the walls,exploding in all their colours inside me, like never before!
Also better known without ever reaching the fame of the Equipe 84, were I Quelli, whose 5th single is featured here. They evolved into PFM the most popular and internationally successful Italian Progressive band of the 70s.
Gli Astrali and Le Stelle are to be found on previous posts but are also included since they fit perfectly and chances are you actually never heard them!
While two tracks from Le Stelle are from their 1967 LP, also included here is the A-side of their only 45 released the following year.

Some of the tracks included are not full blown psychedelic, like for example the G-Men from my hometown Rimini, but they do hint at what was coming or happening.
I Fantom's were quite ahead of most other bands in Italy, just listen to the astounding tracks taken from their 1966 three track EP.

One of the aims of this blog has always been to offer music from non-English speaking countries but providing some background in the English language in order to reach a wider audience.
While understanding some of the lyrics might highten your enjoinment I think the music speaks louder and it would be nice to hear some comments about it.

ANIME Non mi sembra vero (Milano 1969)
ASTRALI Vado su in alto (Torino 1967)
G-MEN Il canto dei ragazzi (Rimini 1967)
FANTOM'S Le insegne pubblicitarie (Torino 1966)
FANTOM'S Il treno (Torino 1966)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Molto alto (Roma 1967)
CHETRO & CO. Danze della sera (Suite in modo psichedelico) (Roma 1968)
CHETRO & CO. Pietre numerate (Roma 1968)
EQUIPE 84 Per un'attimo di tempo (Modena 1968)
MANI PESANTI A proposito dell'amore (1968)
MANI PESANTI Un Dio al neon (1968)
QUELLI Dettato al cappello (Milano 1968)
QUELLI Mi sentivo strano (Milano 1968)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Il mondo va (Roma 1968)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Susan's song (Roma 1967)

Monday 15 November 2010

MUSIC BLOGS: What's the point...?

I suppose it's safe to say that in most cases the point of having a Music blog is that of sharing music you like with, that's obviously done in different ways, some people put passwords, codes even registration to their blogs.
Fair enough, everyone does it the way they prefer, but sometimes you come to wonder if they really want to share the music they're posting...
I remember reading comments in blogs about people that could not unzip their files...why?
the password was not there and never appeared...the password was totally wrong and seemingly never corrected...uh?
Yeah, I read comments, I love comments and love leaving them.
Since I started investigating the different blogs I have come across people complaining and moaning about comments. Totally understandable, I can certainly relate to that but then again...what motivated you in the first place I ask?
Personally I don't mind if all you say is "Thanks" but when I leave comments I try to write something about the record in question and look for comments that shine a light on what's been posted....there are a lot of blogs with great music but with no info at all, or wrong information or a simple copy and paste job that often doesn't even match the title (i.e. year of the record or nationality of the band...).
I'm writing this because lately there's been a bit of a fuss over a very popular blog when people suddenly were disabled from downloading for not leaving comments.
I totally respect that decision but I certainly don't agree with it.
Many complained that they left comments all the time etc etc so it didn't make sense to them....I understand everyone was disabled to start with, so that will explain it.
As I stated earlier I always look for comments that have something to say, and personally I'd rather have a couple of interesting comments or none in fact, that say, 325 comments of just "Thank you" and especially if it turns out that is like blackmail.
Yes! You better watch pal, make sure you say "Thanks" or you'll be kicked out!
Let's imagine for a second that all comments are longer than just "Thank you" and do have something to say, but as a rule every single person that downloads must say something, do you really want 300-500 comments on each post?

There are some great blogs that don't even share music but you see the passion behind it, like FLOWER BOMB SONGS.
One that does a fantastic job and does share music is RECORD FIEND. Or you may want to check the great DAN'S GARAGE.
I love blogs like that, where you can almost hear the guy's voice, there's a certain warmth to it, it's that passion that moves them, that's the point!

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Five Travellers French EP, The Olympic in disguise...

This is a Jean Bernard in France, hope you enjoy it!
For more on the Czech band the Olympic search through my archives...
When I started this blog I began using shareonall that soon disappeared...and all my files too!
Most was reposted and all mediafire links are working, just copy and paste them on your browser, that's the trick, ok?

So here is this great EP that Olympic released under a pseudonym to coincide with their visit to France in 1968, a very eventful year particularly in France (remember May 1968) and Czechoslovakia (Russian tanks ending the "Prague Spring").

a separate link for the other tracks from the original post from May 2008(check it out for details)
Also you may want to check the astonishingly fabulous European Discography Page (see cool links)

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Kaleidoscope incredible footage, French TV, October 1967.

I'm still in a dreamlike state since I've watched the Kaleidoscope footage that only few days ago turned up on youtube.
As a huge fan of Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd I've always been drawn towards British Psychedelic bands of the late 60s but it was Kaleidoscope that really blew my mind when I first discovered them thanks to Rubble vol.4 "The 49 Minute Technicolour Dream" around 1986 or so...
I regularly had a look to see if any Kaleidoscope clip would turn up...and why not?
After all they did appear on TV in Europe and lots of great stuff has turned up on youtube, especially from French TV, including early Soft Machine in colour and black and white, The Pink Floyd with Gilmour "being" Syd, obviously early on...even Tomorrow and the Poets to name some of my favourites.
I'm amazed by the amount of truly spectacular bands that were on TV in France, Belgium, Germany or Holland by 1967 or seems incredible even more so when compared to what's being broadcast today, 40 years later...
Peter Daltrey remembers appearing on German and Swiss TV but it's about this show in particular that he has something to say, the band had just released their debut single "Flight from Ashiya" b/w "Holidaymaker" on 15th September 1967, both of which are performed on the French TV show "Le Petit Dimanche Illustré" a month later (16th October):
"One of our first outings under the new banner was to Paris to appear on a live TV show. Those frogs. We entered the studio to find ourselves in the midst of unorganised chaos. They complained about our frilly white shirts; too white for colour transmission. Suddenly we were dragged on set and we realised the show was on air. A group of guests sat on a sofa smirking at a tasty young girl; someone threw their arm in our direction and we grinned. Then everyone began wandering around; we were off air. In fact we had to wait for hours for the real show. Ed fell over a cello and then we mimed expertly to the single and then we were in the street, in a taxi, in a plane and off home before you could say, `J`taime.`"

What I found interesting in that comment is the bit about colour transmission...WOW!
Would this be in kaleidoscopic colours???
As mentioned there are clips in colour from French TV from the same time...I wonder though, who in 1967 France would see it in colour?
Growing up in Italy I can tell you it was a good 10 years later that some (but not all) people had a colour tv set...

Kaleidoscope story in the words of Peter Daltrey:

The Key, 1966

Friday 5 December 2008


This could easily be my last post, at least for a good while.
Thank you all for the support, it's been particularly nice meeting some of you even though in this funny virtual way, I would certainly prefer a more traditional one...that might happen too, who knows?!
Those of you that have written about just discovering the blog I can only invite you to go through the archives and let me know about the music you find there...I'm not entirely disappearing...and of course there are plenty of blogs around very busy in posting loads of stuff.
Here's just a wee Xmas present that was originally issued as a 45 back in 1967.
Dig it! Magoos Xmas 45.rar