Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Classic Rock presents Prog forgot part 3

The last 10 album that I feel should have been the Classic rock presents Prog magazine top 100 albums of all time rather than too many albums by Yes and Genesis! 

T2 - It'll All Work out In Boomland



Pure classic progressive rock from Decca in 1972. This is another that should have been top 5. This trio had a solid sound a blend of Cream, King Crimson and a hint of Black Sabbath. The album has been re issued many times, though a 1st press on Decca fetches a tasty sum. Side 2 has the epic 22 minute song Morning that is as good as Echoes as far as long constructed pieces is concerned. 

Manfred Mann - Chapter Three 



Another release from Vertigo. At the end of Manfred Mann the band had gone down a Jazzy route and this carried on with Chapter three with its solid bass riffs and lots of great solos. Trumpet legend harry Beckett even makes and Appearance. Zappa fans of the Grand Wazoo era will love this, as will people that dig Black Sabbaths version of 'Warning'

Deep Purple - In Rock



As I mentioned earlier how the mighty Purple didn't make the top 100 when stuff like Kansas and Opeth did god only knows. In rock was the first studio album with Ian Gillan and like Wishbone Ash's Blown' Free Child in Time is going to be pn many great Progressive Rock sampler albums and is a classic track of the genre as is the albums opener Speed King. 


to be continued..... 


The Next 10 Albums that Classic Rock Prog readers forgot

Here is the next batch..

Renaissance




In the late 60s one of the best bands in the UK was The Yardbirds, and in 2014 one of the best bands around is, The Yardbirds. When they split in 1968 Chris and Jimmy wanted to do Led Zeppelin (though Chris soon dropped out), Where as Jum and Keith wanted to do something more experimental and Progressive. The result was this belter of an LP released on Island and produced by former Yardbird Paul Samwell Smith. 

A mix of Classical , Rock and a little bit of Jazz influences this collection of just 5 tracks but ranging from 4 to nearly 12 minutes in length. 

Original Bass Player Louis Cennamo was seen recently performing with McCarty at his 'Frontman' show where Jim performed tracks from this era and beyond with some Prog epics in the set. 


Focus - Focus 3




Moving waves made the list, but Focus 3 didn't, I cant work out why the side and a half of 'Annoymous' should have made it on to the list alone with its heavy riffs flutes and Hammond. As well has having the bands other hit Sylvia on it. 2 Lps of Dutch Prog at its finest. 


Mostly Autumn - The Spirit of Autumn Past




As far as I'm concerned Mostly Autumn are the best of the 'New' Progressive rock bands, they tour every year, out out an album every year, the lives shows are great and the people themselves are some of the most friendly musicians you are ever likely to meet. Its hard to pick and album for this list as they have released so many, but The Sprit Of Autumn Past is a beautiful album and has the audience pleaser and classic song Evergreen on it. 


Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture






It was most odd that one of the stalwarts of modern British Progressive Rock Pendragon were like Mostly Autumn missed off the list if favour of bands like Radiohead and Supertramp!!! 

Pendragon have plodded on for years, they have very high production values and this album is top of the tree, well crafted songs and superb musicianship all the way through well up there with Marillions Brave. 


Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die




A fusion of Folk, Rock and Jazz Steve Winwood was initially going to make a solo album but decided to have the rest of the band join in, some great work outs on songs like Glad that were expanded on the Traffic on the Road album. Traffic at the time were a Progressive band but because they had also had hit singles they were thought of more as a pop group. 

Twelfth Night - Fact and Fiction




Twelfth Night from Reading were another of the new breed of British Prog lead by Marillion, and this bunch made several fine albums and I first heard them in the radio as a teenager. Released on vinyl first then re released in CD sometime later this is a classic 80s Prog album and I'm pleased to say they band have recently started playing live again. 

Wishbone Ash - Argus




This is the benchmark of the Twin Guitar sound, Just about every Progressive Rock compilation ever made has Blowin' Free or The King Will Come on it. 

Martin Turner is a Genius


Judy Dyble - Talking with Strangers




This seen by many as Judys comeback album with a list as long as your arm of prog & folk rock royalty inc Robert Fripp, Simon Nicol, Julianne Regan, Tim Bowness & Pat Mastelotto. The 20 minute Harpsong that takes up side 2 if you have the vinyl was even once on a Prog mag CD so how this album was omitted is baffling as its a superb album from start to finish.

I was good to hear C'est la vie played over the PA at Cropredy the other day. 

Pete Brown and Piblokto - Things May Come and Things May Go but the Art School Dance Goes on Forever




Another tragic omission was anything by Pete Brown, Beat Poet and lyricist to Cream in his own right has released many great albums many on EMI Harvest label. This cracker from 1970 some great musicians inc Jim Mullen on guitar , Roger Bun on bass and Rob Tate on Drums. Browns voice and lyrics against this heavy backdrop of driving bass and drums with the odd harmonium thrown in to makes this one of the most under rated prog rock albums of all time. 


Deep Purple - Concerto for Group and Orchestra



The most tragic thing about Progs list is there was NOTHING from Deep Purple in there at all, this is a scandal. Concerto as you all know was the first proper orchestra meets rock band album recorded live at the Royal Albert All composed at the same time as Making the Classic In Rock album (Child in Time being performed at the same show and subsequently re issued on the CD). If I had to do a Top 5 greatest prog albums of all time this would be there probably just behind Dark Side Of The Moon.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Albums that Classic Rock Prog magazine readers forgot about.

Having looked though this months Prog mag that they were giving away at Cropredy (I don't often buy it as at £8 I feel its overpriced) they did a top 100 best prog albums of all time. Most in the list was all very pedestrian and not really representatives of the world of Progressive rock in my opinion so I'm going to blog a fair few albums that should have been in that list. 

As I have found out today the list was compiled by readers votes, rather than by Journalistic opinion. so I see this blog now as a guide to albums that your average reader might not know about.  

Catapilla - Changes



In the early 70s most of the best Progressive rock music was either on Harvest, Vertigo or Deram (owned by decca). This album was the bands second album released on the Vertigo Swirl label. Like a lot of these albums they didn't sell that well as at the time the world was saturated with Yes and Pink Floyd but thankfully like most good prog albums it has been re issued. Mine is a lovely vinyl re issue on the Akarma label. 

Some lovely dreamy vocals and Psychedelic guitars (going very Floyd in places and released a full year before darkside) mixed in with Rob Calverts Sax (Not to be confused with Hawkwinds Calvet) Rob also played with various gong ofshoots inc a Mother Gong show I attended in 1993. 

People local to me will remember the Record shop of the same name in Exeter, it was called Catapilla records because it was owned by former member Hugh Eaglestone. 

The production on this album is stunning too. 


Affinity




Affinity were also signed to vertigo, fronted by the Amazing Lynda Hoyle and re issued by Angel Air. (you get the album on 180g double vinyl + CD) 

This album released in 1970 is very Jazzy in places in a Brian Augar/Ginger Bakers Airforce type of way with some real kick arse tracks with some arranged by John Paul Jones. 

Original copies of this and Lynda's solo album are holy grail stuff for Progressive Rock collectors. 


The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown




Though this magazine has a 3 page interview with Arthur this month there is no mention of him in the top 100 albums. I would put probaby 3 of his albums in there along with this Début 2 of the Kingdom Come albums are essential too. 

This début though released in 1968 and was not followed up until 2003's 'Vampire Suite' is everything that a good album should be. It has a running narrative of Hell / Fire running through all of side 1 and bits of side 2. Its got some corking tunes on it and the theatre that was involved in the live performance was the the benchmark of inspiration to the likes of Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper and Bruce Dickinson. 

Prog epics inc the Fire suite and Child of my Kingdom. What also makes this album special is there is no guitars on it at all. Though there are suppose to be takes with Pete Townshend on guitar but where they are nobody knows. 


Kingdom Come - Journey



Journey was the third album from Arthur Browns Kingdom Come, the first album to use a drum machine rather than a drummer. Released at the same time as Dark Side of the moon this album produced by Dave Edmund like DSOTM features the EMS VCS 3 Synth played by Victor Peraino and was light years ahead of anything release before. Stand out tracks Time Captains (or Time Captives) and Come Alive bookend this Prog materpiece. Nothing came close to it at the time or since.  

Kraftwerk



In the UK Vertigo released the first 2 Kraftwerk albums as a double LP. This was long before Autobahn and had real drums, Guitar and Flute as the main instruments. Ruckzuck is the stand out number and various superb live versions are on youtube with Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger pre Neu playing with them. 


Quatermass



Quatermass were signed to Harvest who has big guns such as Pink Floyd and Deep Purple on their books. Its well know that Ritchie Blackmore wanted his band to Cover Quatermasses Black Sheep Of The Family but the band said no and it wasn't until Rainbow that Blackmore got his wish. 

Driving Bass Drum and Hammond with John Gustafson's soaring vocals and like Arthur Browns début its all hammond/piano bass and Drums plus an orchestra here and there. I guess The Nice / ELP were more popular than Quatermass but this album is worth its weight in gold. one for the ELP/Yes fans for sure. Gustafson went on to play for the likes of Ian Gillan and Roxy Music. 

Gravy Train



Another gem from Vertigo in 1970, Many rate 'Ballad of a Peaceful man' as the bands best album but I prefer this Tull like album tracks like the extended 'Earl of pocket Nook' could give Thick as a Brick a good run for its money and probably win. 

Colosseum - Daughter of time



This classic British progressive rock bands that went on more into the Jazz world released some belter lps in the early days, this one is one of the best with tracks such as 'Take Me Back to Domesday' and a band that has the likes of John Hisman, Clem Clempson, Dick Heckstall Smith Chris Farlow and Dave Greenslade. Progressive music was all about putting differant ideas into the melting pot, and this mixes Jazz, Rock and what would become early Heavy Metal into one big sound. And yes another Vertigo release! 

Tractor



Tractor are Jim Milne and Steve Clayton and are from Rochdale. The band were first called The Way We Live and were signed to John Peels Dandelion records. The bands first album A candle for Judith was a great lp but this was the bands best. For a duo its a big sound with lots of studio overdubs, almost early king Crimson in places. John Peel and Julian Cope were both big fans of the band who are still touring today. As a side note the band also owned a PA Hire firm and regularly supplied PA to bands such as Joy Division.  This album has been re issued many times and rightly so. 

Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido



How this didn't make the list I have no idea. Hawkwind at there peek with solid bass from Lemmy kicking off with Nik Turners Brainstorm and Epic prog track that does what it says on the tin and lifts you to another planet. The Primitive synths and special effects use were unlike anything else around at the time. And while Hawkwind are always touring and Nik turners version of the band more into the 70s sound they are often overlooked in poles but when you talk about Progressive Rock its not long before Hawkwind come into the conversation.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Spring Update 2nd April 2014


 So a little bit of an update from me. 


Radio: I recently was a guest on the BBC radio Devon Introducing programme as a pundit on the round table of the new releases from local bands. There was a very good selection of material whoever said that Devon has no great music is so far off the mark. I feel that at the moment the standard of bands and artists has never been higher.  


Last week I was live from the Royal Albert Hall at the Cures first of a 2 night residency there. The show was stunning the best Cure gig I have ever been to and the atmosphere was one of the best of any gig I have ever attended. 

This Friday I will be live from the Danny Thompson 75th Birthday gig in London with special guest Richard Thompson that should be amazing.
Phonic FM in Exeter are doing a show dedicated to yours truly on Tuesday 29th April at 8pm on 106.8  FM in Exeter and on the web at http://www.phonic.fm I will be talking about all the music I have done and more importantly the music that I like to listen to. Hopefully with a few surprises on the way. 


Secrets for September: we played our first gig of the year the other day at the Tobacco House in Exeter and we have a few shows lined up for the summer. The new EP ‘Letting Go and Live’ has been getting some great reviews if you have not heard it yet then pop along to http://secretsforseptember.bandcamp.com .


Department Factory: I performed with Michael Soundy another Department Factory show and like last year we released it the following day. One review has said  'Matthew North is a talented musician who is able to combine elements of disparate genres in a seamless and coherent fashion.'

See more http://blissaquamarine.net/albumreviews28.html and to listen and download or get the cd. http://matthewnorth.bandcamp.com
 


Other music: I have been asked to play guitar on a very special project more to come on that but it’s a new field for me. I have also contributed guitar to a new song by the band ‘The Legendary Ten Seconds’ and I’m also playing guitar on the new Scott Morrison EP added to that I’m also going to be releasing my first solo single called ‘Something Memorable’ it’s a song I did when I was the guitarist of Falling Trees for a bit and they were happy for me to have a crack at doing my own interpretation of it and thankfully they like it. 

I have a few gigs coming up see http://www.matthewnorthmusic.co.uk for details. I have also updated the web page with just about every gig I have ever played so you can see a bit more of my musical history. 

More news soon

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The South West Music Awards 2013

So that was the South West Music Awards 2013. 

It took place at 'Charlie's Live Lounge' a new club thats by the Pizza hut in Cowick street. As you go in you get the feeling that normally its a venue that plays dance music to boys and girls in track suits and Burberry Caps. 

A truly horrid venue where they charge £10.70 for 1 glass of wine and one bottle of Kopperberg. while trying to order a lemonade and blackcurrent the barman had no idea what blackcurrant was in any way shape or form. The PA was appalling, you could not hear a single word for the first few hours as the mic was distorting to buggery. The locals were getting restless as they had nowhere to sit, many who had travelled a fair way to get there. 

Far less movers and shakers there than usual but good to chat to a few of the great and the good such as Jackson Cooper, Adam Isaacs, Chris Mockridge, Marie Belsten, Lee and Lisa Fletcher, Andy Botterill, Andrew Padfield and Sarah Woodward as well as the Sirens girls, Mozura,  the Reigning Days chaps and a few others that my brain cant quite remember the day after! And the Exeter local records guy had a stand there the ONLY local music exhibit there, and I think I was the only person from a band there doing any kind of form of active promotion by touting round promos of the new Secrets For September CD. 



Myself with the 2 Andys



It was a shame it was a Friday, as that’s a giging day for most musicians, and TSWMA is not an event that is big enough yet to warrant cancelling a gig to attend. 

Rev Hammer did a great job of comparing this year, being local he gets it and while John Robb is a pro being a Manc he thinks there is nothing in the world of music past the M62. Though Mr Robbs sarcasm was missed. People got awards, how it was voted and judged is very questionable but if you play in Exeter a lot, or have something to do with Phonic then you have a good chance of winning something. 

I was asked to present best folk award, and I had a speech all prepared but because the PA was so poor I didn't really say much at all. 

The event was on two floors as it was in a club rather than a venue (and last years venue was spot on), downstairs were several bands playing where they had a really decent sounding PA and felt like a much better place to hang out than the main event. 

The awards came through, some of my friends like Billy Bottle, Lee Fletcher and John Govier all won a gong. After the interval where Carnivala did a great set,



Above Carnivala



I was called upon to back Irish singer Olive de Ville for a 10 minute 4 song set. This was the first time that myself and Dave had played together outside the Secrets For September environment. Thankfully by that time the PA was starting to sound a little better though there was no actual sound operator present for the whole set. But we managed to get through it all ok and had there been a better PA there in a decent room (ie like last year) then it would have been quite good. 



Myself, Dave Holwill and Olive De Ville



The rest of the evening was more awards, half the attendees by this time had gone home, and not long after I did the same. 

There was no real dramas like the first one with short angry man from Wang Chung, but this time it did feel that the event was really a parody of itself. They got it pretty much spot on last year. If there is one next year a few lessons need to be learned. The award selection needs more transparency, a better venue needs to be sourced, the event needs to be on a non gig day and some proper media involvement.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back in the saddle..

On Saturday night I played my first solo set for a very long time. 

It was a short set just 4 songs, but was the first time in the 20 years that I have been playing there that I have played at the Cavern as a solo artist. 

The set was

Broken Child (All Living Fear song 2012)
Blue Sky (All Living Fear song 1996)
To Behold (Secrets For September song 2010)
Tomorrow (All Living Fear song 1993)

The last song Tomorrow I first performed with All Living Fear at the Cavern almost to the day 20 years ago as I had just written it while at work in one of the local music shops. As a result of this show I have been asked to play at a few more gigs, and its inspired me that in 2014 I might just finally make a solo recording. watch this space. 


 
The guitar I used was my little Epiphone travel guitar its got a great sound and hardly takes up any room at all.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Late Show 27th September 2013

Last week was 3 from The Wall (Another Brick 1, Hey You and Run Like Hell) 

This week was about People coming to the area and redressing the Balance

1) Jethro Tull - Bouree (from This Was as Martin Barre playing Tavistock)

2) The Cult - Love Removal Machine (steve Brown version) as the Cult are playing Exeter Uni Soon

3) Focus - Anonymous 1 (they are playing Tavistock, Falmouth and Bristol)

and finally 

4) David Gilmour - No Way (Redressing the Roger Waters Pink Floyd Balance!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

National Pastime - Run With Me Now - Produced and remixed by Me.

Here is something new. I was asked to play on the new recordings by Exeters ‘National Pastime’ well I didn’t really have the time but I did offer to do a remix.

The song on offer was one they had played live as Falling Trees called ‘Run with me now’ when played live it had a bit of a Cure sound to it.

When I got the recording to work with I was rather shocked it was 140 bpm and sounded nothing like the song that was played live.

Anyhow the first thing I did was to try and make it sound like the song I had heard before. So I halved the tempo and all I used was the vocals. I wrote new music and then went about editing the vocals where I sliced them up to fit in the sections that I felt best. On the choruses I took the first one and the second one and doubled them up and added lots of delay and reverb to give it a big sound. This in on the released as Remix 2.



Then I went back to the song and decided to produce a version more to the original. So I extended the drums by about a minute as there was no breaks or fills anywhere I wanted to put some in. Then I placed the vocals back in and re recorded all of the rest of the instrumentation. As well as adding keyboards and acoustic guitar. Think this one finished off the best. 


 
There is a review of the EP here. 

http://thesoundofconfusionblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/national-pastime-dont-let-it-get-away-ep.html 

And another review here

http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Jackson-Cooper-Live-Local-National-Pastime-Don-t/story-19710240-detail/story.html?260770516=182896472