What a way to end 2014 with some missing footage of The Who Appearing.
The show in question was transmitted on the 30th December 1970 called 'Into 71'
You can see a full line up of the show here. The 2 songs performed were 'I dont even know Myself' and 'Naked Eye' both played a lot in 1970 and were tipped to be part of the 'Lifehouse' album that ended up being 'Whos Next' Naked Eye has always been one of my favourite Who songs and though the music is on playback the vocals are live.
So last night I went to the same venue I saw The Who at last year. Support band were called Slydigs they were one of those bands whom every song they played you knew exactly what records they has been listening to when writing their tunes bit of a disappointment esp knowing the excellent Standard Lamps had opened for the Who earlier on the tour. After they had finished it was a very quick turnaround and The Who were soon on . The first 4 bars of ‘I cant Explain’ already for me beat everything about the Quadropheania show. No disrespect to the stand ins, but with The Who now Pino and Zak are the perfect rhythm section for Pete and Roger.
The augmentation of the band with extra keyboards and percussion really works well. A bit like the 89 tour except maybe not quite so over the top. The set was a great mixture hearing the Seeker again was a high point as was songs like So Sad about us and Pictures of Lilly both tunes I have never heard live before myself. Join Together was one of those moments where the additional musicians came into their own. There was a few missed cues here and there. But that just added to the excitement of a band not playing the standard set list. I was disappointed at no Naked Eye, and I had a feeling that A quick one wouldn’t be in the set for long sadly. The Quadropheania section was probably more enjoyable than the whole gig was last time. The synch up of John with Zak doing the 5:15 solo was immense.
Towards the end Roger announced that he has trouble with his voice due to a cold, so the audience sang along to Wont get Fooled again and Baba O’Riley before the band ended with Magic Bus. Again a song I never thought I’d hear played live. All in all a great Who show, great banter between Pete and Roger all night.
This has to be the biggest surprise of 2014 a new Pink Floyd album. Its out in the UK on Monday but by the miracle of technology I have acquired a copy for a review so here is my thoughts as I was listening to the album.
1 Things left Unsaid
This is a ambient soundscape with some spoken lines for
interviews, I wouldn't swear to it, but I think one line is even from roger.
2 Its what we do
Very much a coda to the Wish you were here album a kind of a
mix of Shine on and welcome to the machine, imho already better than anything that
was in Division bell musically. Wonderful.
3 EBB and Flow
This starts off with one of the pulsing synth noises off Metallic
Spheres think youth worked on this one. Some
nice backwards guitar with some of Ricks electric piano.
This start the second of the 4 phases of the album almost a flashback
to Astronomy Domine at the start then goes into a Gilmour slidefest. I was
expecting this to build up into something bigger and it err didn't. Such as the nature of pink Floyd you never get
what you expect.
This could have been a new version of Syncopated Pandemonium
from 1968 Nicks wonderful drums with manic slide noises from David.
Another big 90s Floyd intro piece
This was one of the tracks the band put a teaser out for,
and IMHO they teased a bit that makes people think this was just going to be elevator
music. Its very much a Us and Them esque piece. I guess this may have not made
the cut for Division bell because it sounds too much like us and them, but the
strange thing is it would fit right in as part of Roger Waters ‘When the wind
blows’ suite. It’s a shame that the 2 never got combined.
8 The Lost Art Of Conversation
Another Rick piece again could well have been part of the ‘Soundscape’
album that was mooted. This is really an
intro into the following
9 On noodle Street
Its strange this one, it almost sounds like it could be the
music for a Bryan Ferry song.
10 Night Light
If I'm critical of anything on this album it’s the very nasal
acoustic guitar sound here and there. This track being a case in point. Id have
mixed off the acoustic guitar again this is an intro to the next track.
11 Allons-Y (1)
To hardcore Floyd
collectors this is a known track as its been in fan circles for a few years,
though polished up now this is essence a song that is musically far better than
most of Division bell, had a good driving Floyd riff. But I guess it got
dropped because strains of it sound like other Floyd tracks.
12 Autumn 68
This is another nugget of gold Ricks playing the Royal
Albert Hall Organ. The weird thing is why wasn't it called autumn 1969 because
as far as I know the Floyd never played the Albert hall in 1968 but they did do
The man And The Journey there in 1969. Also if this was the show when the band got ‘banned’
from the RAH how come they played in 1970?
11 Allons-Y (2)
This carries on where the other part left off.
12 Talkin’ Hawkin’
Another nice piece of mid tempo 90s Floyd with speech form
Stephen Hawkins , not sure why TBH but hey it’s a great piece of music.
The intro to the last segment of the album a wash with 90s
snyths and piano. When recording this the Floyd had ample number of ‘intro’
pieces I suspect that’s why this album was split into 4 sections.
14 Eyes to Pearls
Again not wishing to criticise but not a fan of the guitar
sound on this. The Drums sound epic mind.
This is almost Wall esque.
The penultimate track on this album, have to say playing
this through it feels like it finished very quickly. Again a very polished
piece of music that again id add to the list of bits that probably should have
gone on the Division Bell.
16 Louder Than Words
This is the song most people know as its had a fair bit of
airplay. I don’t mind this song, but its not the most amazing thing ever. The
intro really reminds me of Marillion.
NB in addition to the above comment I think this song will
grow on me. I may well end up loving this song. Actually I probably already do.
There are also 3 bonus tracks
This is a bit of ambient sound that has its roots in Echoes
and Careful with that Axe Eugene. Sounds rather lovely.
Love the fact I can hear a Farfisa in the background of this
one, bit like one of the barn jams that David Gilmour did in 2007 nice. This is one of my favorite pieces on the
This starts off with a heavy Gilmour guitar riff (Think Nile
song) bug drums come in, this is the ‘Rocker’ of the album. Again another jam
but a great jam. Almost has a Punk vibe.
To summarize I have enjoyed listening to this album a lot
more than my first listen to The Division bell and to A Momentary Lapse of
Reason. Maybe my tastes are different to
how they were back then.
This album is a collection of bits, but I know that because
I am a Pink Floyd nerd and can understand why bits were not used. But that does
not mean that this is something that shouldn't be heard because as a piece of
music it is in my view far better than what most modern bands today will dish
out. Is this the best Pink Floyd album
no, is it the worst, no its probably the album of the 3 post Roger Waters
albums that I will play the most that’s for sure. Below the EPK for the album
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.....
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
This Friday I will be live from the Danny Thompson 75th
Birthday gig in London with special guest Richard Thompson that should be
Phonic FM in Exeter are doing a show dedicated to yours
truly on Tuesday 29th April at 8pm on 106.8FM 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.'
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.