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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Various Artists - Cosmarama (1969-73 uk/europe, prog psych behemoths, Psychic Circle release)

It should be noted that the set is liberally populated with Euro progsters, with half a dozen representatives from Holland and another half-dozen from Belgium and Germany. The set opens with the title track from the UK band, Distant Jim, who only released albums on the continent. They were a sort of supergroup whose family tree included members of Methuselah, Amazing Blondel, Junior’s Eyes and The Smoke. 

The unusual time signatures and syncopated beats are pure prog, highlighted by some firebreathing soloing from guitarist Les Nicol. Saloman, one of today’s premiere guitarists, is a sucker for flashy stringbenders, which may explain the inclusion of Belgian rockers, Carriage Company’s ‘In Your Room.’ Guitar licks abound, but besides a few organ flourishes, the track is more akin to heavy metal than prog.

Saloman flips Dutch band, The Tower’s oft-comped ‘Slow Motion Mind’ over for the dreamy B-side, ‘In Your Life,’ a wonderful, Procol Harum-ish floater. The Liverpudlian Back Street Band take liberties with the melody from Lennon’s ‘Come Together’ on their 1969 B-side, ‘Daybreak’ and Family completists may enjoy the Dutch supergroup (including members of Q65 and Focus), Big Wheel’s chugging, boogie bar blues rendition of ‘Old Songs New Songs,’ but I fail to hear the prog connection.

Holland’s Silence give us the hard rocking ‘Devil Woman,’ which takes a familiar Led Zep riff and morphs it into an enjoyable amalgam of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull – imagine ‘Immigrant Song’ tagteaming with ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Locomotive Breath.’ Another prolific Dutch band, Ginger Ale check in with ‘Get Off My Life Woman,’ wherein Roek Williams’ credible Jim Morrison impersonation leaves this listener thinking “The Doors with horns.”

Pussy formed out of the ashes of Jerusalem, so I don’t think it’s the same outfit that released the Pussy Plays album. Like the Jerusalem album, ‘Feline Woman’ was produced by Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, so once again you can expect more heavy metal than prog results. German heavy rockers, Electric Food’s family tree includes branches to Lucifer’s Friend and Uriah Heep, so you know what to expect from ‘I’ll Try.’ And although there are no women in the Dutch band, Mr. Albert Show, the vocalist on ‘Kings of Galaxy’ sounds like Suzi Quatro, Do with that information what you will! Castle Farm’s self-released ‘Hot Rod Queen’ is a stomping little rocker that successfully mines the Mott The Hoople oeuvre with a title that seems ripped straight off an old Marc Bolan album! 

And finally, and quite surprisingly, the Irish showband, Chips (from Sligo) turn in the most traditional prog track in the bunch with ‘Earth,’ which is full of swirling keyboards, multi-layered vocals, and astrological themes that all combined to remind me of the German prog/kraut band, Triumvirat. But other than that, despite the fact that many of the songs provide varying degrees of entertainment in their own right, prog purists should be cautioned that, to these ears, most of these tracks lean more towards the heavy, power blues end of the spectrum. 
by Adamus67

Artists - Tracks - Composer
1.Distant Jim - Cosmarama (Austin) - 5:59
2.Carriage Company - In Your Room (Kent) - 3:48
3.Kingdom - All I Need (Edwards) - 3:31
4.The Tower - In Your Life (De Groot) - 4:42
5.Back Street Band - Daybreak (Bellis) - 2:56
6.Big Wheel - Old Songs New Songs (Chapman, Whitney) - 3:15
7.Bismarck - Shotgun Express (Englebert, Thomas) - 3:51
8.Cwt - Widow Woman (Jones, Kirk, White) - 3:17
9.Silence - Devil Woman (Weeda, Putter) - 2:51
10.Ginger Ale - Get Off My Life Woman (A. Toussaint) - 2:41
11.Pussy - Feline Woman (Pussy) - 2:30
12.Tenderfoot Kids - Man In Black (Vion) - 2:10
13.Electric Food - I’ll Try (Hesslein, Monro) - 3:15
14.Mr.Albert Show - Kings Of Galaxy (Borgers, Schrama) - 2:47
15.The Petards - Free (King) - 2:30
16.Castle Farm - Hot Rod Queen (Benike) - 4:00
17.The Pebbles - Half Past Dead (Bekky) - 5:01
18.Corporal Gander’s Fire Dog Parade - Love Song (Scott, Talby) - 3:20
19.Chips - Earth (Chips) - 2:51
20.Richard St. Clair And Forum - Give Me Back (St. Clair) - 3:44

Psychic Circle compilations
1961-64  Phantom Guitars: A Cool Collection of Twangin' Instrumentals
1966-72  With The Sun In My Eyes
1968-72  White Lace And Strange
1968-72  The Room Of Loud Sounds
1964-69  Realistic Patterns Orchestrated Psychedelia
1965-69  Wednesday Morning Dew 
1965-70  The Electric Coffee House 
1965-70  The Golden Road The Electric Coffee House Vol.2
1969-74  Blow Your Cool: 20 Prog Psych Assaults
1969-74  Lovin’ Fire 20 Obscure Gems
1970-77  A Visit To The Spaceship Factory

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Hudson And Ford - Nickelodeon (1973 uk, delightful country folk rock with glam splashes, Vinyl issue)

Hudson-Ford,  were sadly underrated and largely ignored by the pop music buying public. Why? Couldn't tell you. Not any particular reason you could put your finger on.

Bear in mind this is the mid-1970's, Hudson-Ford were a good and competent band, with good song writing skills and good production, they failed to click with an audience who were just getting tired of what was available, certainly in mainstream. 

The sound of Hudson Ford, though, ranged to glam, with a occasional nod to their electric folk past. Their roles broadened as well, with Hudson leaving the drums to others in order to focus on singing and lead guitar, and Ford expanding his vocal and acoustic guitar duties. 

The debut album "Nickolodeon" was bolstered by the presence of Rick Wakeman and other studio sharpshooters, the sounded more country/folk than their following albums with well writing tunes, they  scored a hit in the U.K. with the single "Pick Up the Pieces."

1 Crying Blues - 3:30
2 Angels - 3:06
3 I Wanted You - 2:40
4 Hello, I Thought You Were Dead - 0:58
5 Burn Baby Burn - 2:57
6 Dark Lord - 4:37
7. Pick Up the Pieces - 2:34
8. Let Her Cry - 2:31
9. Tea Leaf (To Joss) - 0:58
10.Take It Back - 4:40
11.I Don't Understand - 1:50
12.Revelations - 5:09
Words and Music by Richard Hudson, John Ford

*Richard Hudson – Vocals, Guitar, Sitar
*John Ford – Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Rick Wakeman – Harpsichord, Piano
*Mickey Keen - Lead Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocals
*Ken Laws - Drums
*Chris Parren – Piano, Clavinet
*Gerry Conway - Drums
*Tom Allom - Harmonium, Piano
*Billy Bell - Banjo. Jack Emblow

2nd album
1974 Hudson Ford - Free Spirit  

Related Acts
1967  Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
1969  Ride A Hustler's Dream

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