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Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cozy Powell - The Bedlam Years (1968-1999 uk, great classic rock, hard rock, 2009 remaster edition, 3 disc box set)

Bedlam (originally known as Beast when it formed in 1972) was a British hard rock band featuring singer Frank Aiello (from Truth), guitarist Dave Ball (from Procol Harum), bassist Dennis Ball (formerly with Long John Baldry), and drummer Cozy Powell (formerly with Jeff Beck) They did a self-titled album produced by Felix Pappalardi (producer of Cream member of Mountain) in 1973 before breaking up in 1974

This band should have just as big as Led Zeppelin The signs were where all moody and magnificent blues rock guitarist of the highest caliber in the form of Dave Ball (from Procol Harum) a rock steady thundering bassist - Dennis Ball (formerly with Long John Baldry) - vocals from a Cockney banshee Frank Aiello (from the truth tablen) and drummer Mr. Cozy Powell from 1973 debut "Bedlam" album remains a classic

Considered one of England's best drummers and a lot of demand for rock and pop Cozy Powell was almost legendary for a heavy hit style that could be done to work with many types of rock music, whether for the thundering pop productions helmed by Mickie Most Black Sabbath Emerson Lake & Powell or even his own solo work (notably "Dance with the Devil" which was a major English hit in 1973)

Powell began his professional music career in 1965 with sorcerers eventually decommissioning work with Jeff Beck after Beck left the Yardbirds in 1971, Powell formed Bedlam, but eventually abandoned this project to produce singles such as "Dance with the Devil" He later imageas Cozy Powell's Hammer, which broke up in 1975 after a brief sabbatical, he joined Rainbow helps to give the band a section thunderous rhythm before exiting after four years and four albums in 1980, always in demand for the drum seat, he alternated between session work and working in different bands, including the Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath never staying in one band for very long

In 1996, he worked with former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green on his long-awaited comeback tour at the time of his death on April 5, 1998 he was recovering from a foot injury which had sidelined him from touring work with guitarist Yngvie Malmsteen He was driving on the M4 towards Bristol when he apparently lost control of his car (due toto bad weather) slamming into the center divider of the highway, he died some hours later in hospital 

Disc-1 Bedlam 1973
1. Believe In You - 4:02
2. Hot Lips - 4:37
3. Sarah - 3:48
4. Sweet Sister Mary - 2:52
5. Seven Long Years - 3:47
6. The Beast - 5:30
7. Whisky And Wine - 2:35
8. Looking Through Love's Eyes - 2:58
9. Putting On The Flesh - 3:55
10.Set Me Free - 4:22

Disc-2: The Studio CD 1968-99
1.1812 Thrashed - 1:36
2. Swlabr - 2:48
3. Hideaway - 3:11
4. For Your Love - 5:41
5. Stepping Out - 2:22
6. Funky Woman - 3:06
7. Ring Of Fire - 3:41
8. Munich City - 4:22
9. Hot Lips - 4:35
10.At The Gateway -3:15
11.Candy(Rainbow Over New York) - 4:21
12.Share With You - 3:36
13.Dave's Ditty For Cozy - 1:52

Disc-3: The Live CD  New York 5th March 1974
1. I Believe In You - 4:11
2. The Beast - 5:43
3. The Great Game - 4:06
4. Set Me Free - 6:29
5. Interview - 5:31
6. The Fool - 21:28

*Francesco Aiello - Vocals
*Dave Ball - Guitar
*Dennis Ball- Bass, Vocals, Guitar
*Cozy Powell - Drums
Guest Musicians
*Ace Kefford - Vocals
*David McTavish - Vocals
*Pete Ball - Organ
*Ed Welch - Mellotron
*Felix Pappalardi - Keyboards

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Blackwood Apology - The House of Leather (1969 us, magnificent concept psych garage rock opera, 2011 edition and 2023 remaster)

The first time I heard House Of Leather, at first I was not very impressed by it. The vocals sounded too “pop”; like something the Association would have recorded, and the recurring themes and overtures sounded like space fillers. But I could not deny even then that the electric guitar playing was arresting, and the organ playing weaved its way expertly through the various arrangements, providing a distinctive connecting strand. The Blackwood Apology definitely had their own sound. 

For greater atmosphere, they also throw in instruments like acoustic guitar and even pipe organ. The arrangements on the album are complex, and it is cleverly structured so that by the end of the record, the piece has returned to its starting point, meaning that you can put the album on shuffle play and listen to it as an endless loop on your MP3 player should you so choose.

I am not so dedicated as to want to do that, but I did find myself coming back to this album again and again over the 20 years that have elapsed since I bought it. In addition to the advanced musicianship, my main focus was the lyrics. Even with the full text provided on the inside cover (along with an elliptical explanatory note on the instrumental depiction that the album provides of the American Civil War), the words are perplexing. 

As someone on the Internet wondered; is the House of Leather a cathouse? The images on the cover suggest it is a house of ill-repute of some sort. And why is it the house “Of Leather”? Was it some sort of kinky B&D joint where moustachioed gents went to get their jollies in unorthodox ways?

Finally, after 20 years of scratching my head, I sat down and listened to the lyrics, and not just once but several times, in an attempt to get to the bottom of what this perplexing album is about.

The story starts “down along the Swanee River”, where we are introduced to a young lady named Sarah Jane who has “got love to send you… straight to heaven where she comes from”. We move on to a reminiscence of the House of Leather, where “the pretty young things all got together” to dance, among other things. 

We are then introduced to one Mrs Grim, who appears to be the matronly figure in charge of the House of Leather, and the narrator reminds her of Donny Brooks, a farmer who she used to know in one capacity or another, and obliquely makes mention of the town’s mayor, a man by the name of Ramsey. 

A little bit further on, we find out that the House of Leather is a school of some sort, and Sarah Jane appears to be a teacher there (teaching what exactly? – again, we don’t know), who both Donny Brooks and Ramsey have fallen in love with. The outcome of this love triangle is that Sarah Jane ends up with Donny Brooks the farmer, and they settle down on his farm, where she ends up bearing him a child.

Then along comes the US Civil War, in which her husband and child (a boy) are both killed. After the war, Sarah Jane stays on at the farm, which Ramsey, the mayor, now owns. The album concludes with the words “Sarah’s on her knees… building dreams… begging for love”, and “if you’re ever…. way down along the Swanee River… you’re not far from the House of Leather… where I was born….”

Well, that’s all perfectly clear, isn’t it? So the narrator is the offspring of Sarah Jane and Ramsey… or is he? And if he was their child, why was he born in the House of Leather and not down on the farm? Was she kicked off the farm and ended up having to work for a living? But working in what capacity? And exactly what sort of education is offered by an institution that ventures to call itself the “House of Leather”? 

The brainchild of 23 year-old writer / guitarist Dale Menten, The House Of Leather is a rock opera set in a bordello during the US Civil War. It was originally released in December 1968, shortly before it was staged as a sell-out rock opera in Minnesota. A fine mixture of acid-tinged pop-rock and ballads, it makes its long-overdue CD debut here – together with liner notes that tell the story of the production’s ill-fated move to New York in 1970.

1. Medley: Swanee River Overture / House Of Leather Theme - 2:06
2. Do You Recall The House Of Leather? - 2:47
3. Recess With Mrs. Grim - 1:03
4. Graduates Of Mrs. Grim’s Learning - 3:10
5. There Is Love In The Country (On The Donny Brooks Farm) - 2:03
6. Here I Am - 4:27
7. She Lives With Me - 1:07
8. There’s Love In The Country (On The Donny Brooks Farm)  Reprise - 2:05
9. Time Marches On - 5:23
10. Dixie And The War - 3:21
11. Death And Reality - 2:52
12. Sarah’s On Her Knees - 2:46
13. Theme From House Of Leather (Epilogue In Suede) - 2:45
All compositions by Dale Menten

Blackwood Apology
*Ron Beckman - Bass,
*Dennis Caswell - Drums, Vocals
*Tom Hustin - Guitar, Vocals
*Dennis Libby - Piano, Vocals
*Greg Maland - Keyboards, Pipe Organ
*Dale Menten - Guitar, Vocals
*Bruce Pedalty - Organ, Vocals

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