Sunday, May 20, 2018

Caravan - 1974-11-10 - Record Plant, Sausalito, CA

Caravan
1974-11-10
Record Plant, Sausalito, CA

FM broadcast recording, excellent qualty
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Staying with progressive rock bands associated with the Canterbury Scene, here is Caravan, a band that featured a wonderful mix of rock, jazz, and folk, and deserved much more success and acclaim than they received. Caravan was formed in 1968 from the remnants of an earlier band, Wilde Flowers, after Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper had left to join The Soft Machine. The original lineup consisted of brothers David and Richard Sinclair (keyboards and bass/vocals, respectively), Pye Hastings (guitars/vocals), and Richard Coghlan (drums). In their first album, Caravan (1969), they were still finding their identity within the emerging progressive rock scene, but by their second album (and first on the Decca label), If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (1970), they had settled into their signature sound and style, an intriguing mix of pop, gentle English folk, rock jams, jazz explorations, and eccentric and humorous tales. Their next album, In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971) became their most critically acclaimed, but struggled to find an audience. Frustrated by their lack of commercial success, Dave Sinclair left the band to join Robert Wyatt in his new band, Matching Mole. Caravan added new keyboardist Steve Miller for their next album, Waterloo Lily (1972), which took them in a bluesier direction. But Miller's more straight jazz/blues style clashed with the rest of the band, and he was soon out. By 1973, Dave Sinclair returned to the band (Matching Mole didn't last long, one album), which had now also added Geoffrey Richardson on viola and flute (but Richard Sinclair was now gone) for their next album, For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973), which was another highlight for the band, followed by a Live album with orchestra, Caravan and the New Symphonia (1974). Although gaining a dedicated following, the band could never quite break through to popular success. In 1974, and their first U.S. tour (now with Mike Wedgewood on bass), they attempted to make it in America, and following a successful tour, their next album Cunning Stunts (1975) did finally crack the charts in both the UK and U.S., but just barely. Sinclair left after that, and subsequent more mainstream albums Blind Dog at St Dunstans (1976) and Better By Far (1977) failed to expand their fanbase, resulting in the band calling it quits after that. An eighties revival of the band resulted in a couple of subsequent albums, but could not match the original output. But as seems to be the pattern, the original lineup reunited for an event in 1990, which re-ignited interest, and resulted in re-forming and touring shortly after, and various forms of the band has continued to play right up to the present.
Here we have the band in their first U.S. Tour in 1974, in an excellent radio broadcast recordingfeaturing the band plying songs primarily from their excellent For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night Album, along with some earlier favorites. A fine show from a wonderful band that never quite got their due.     

Tracklist:
1. Announcement by radio dj
2. Memory Lain, Hugh
3. Headloss
4. For Richard
5. Band introduction / Virgin On The Ridiculous
6. Be All Right
7. Chance Of A Lifetime
8. The Love In Your Eye

Total time 1:05:40

Pye Hastings - Guitar & Vocal
Geoffrey Richardson - Viola, Guitar, Flute
Dave Sinclair - Keyboards
Mike Wedgwood - Bass & Vocal
Richard Coghlan - Drums

FLAC - Caravan_1974-11-10_Record Plant_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Caravan_1974-11-10_Record Plant_mp3.rar

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

(Pierre Moerlen's) Gong - 1976-10-25 - Tomblaine, France

(Pierre Moerlen's) Gong
1976-10-25
Nancy (Tomblaine), France
'Live Express!'

Audience recording, good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

As noted in the previous post, following Daevid Allen's and then Steve Hillage's departure from Gong in 1975-1976, percussionist Pierre Moerlen took control of the band, moved the band more in a direction of percussion-oriented jazz-rock, bringing in brother Benoit Moerlen and Mireille Bauer on vibes and mallet percussion and additional percussionist Mino Cinelli. But also bringing in journeyman progressive rocker guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Because Gong was still under contract to Virgin for 2 more albums, this new lineup continued under the name Gong, but this was a decidedly different band from the Daevid Allen days. Following those next 2 albums (Gazeuse!-1976 and Expresso II-1978), the band's name was officailly changed to Pierre Moerlen's Gong. By 1979, Holdsworth was gone, and Mike Oldfield came in to play guitar on their next album, Downwind (1979), as lineups continued to change each year. By 1980 and the album Time is the Key, the band brought in jazz keyboardist Peter Lemer (as well as Holdsworth on a couple tracks) and featured an even more mallet percussion-based progressive jazz-rock style, to stunning effect. That is actually my very favorite album from any incarnation of Gong, as it is wholly unique in sound and style, and consisting of an almost percussion ensemble instrumentation and a cool progressive jazz-rock vibe, a beautiful album. After a live album (Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live-1980) and another studio album (Leave it Open-1981), the band's output became more sporadic, with albums in 1986 (Breakthrough) and 1988 (Second Wind), before breaking up. However, a Gong band never really goes away, former PMG members Hansford Rowe (bass), Bon Lozaga (guitar), and Benoit Moerlen (percusssion) formed Gongzilla in 1991, and eventually, Pierre started up a new assemblage of musicians under the PMG name, releasing Pentanine in 2004. Moerlen began working on another new album in 2005 with a group of French musicians, but then died suddenly and unexpectedly. The rest of the band eventually finished the album and released it as Tribute in 2010.
Here we have a show from the early stages of Pierre Moerlen's Gong, in 1976, following the release of Gazeuse! (Expresso in North America). Would have liked to post something from the Time is the Key stage of the band, but unfortunately, no available recordings exist. But this is still good, too.

Tracklist:
01. Expresso
02. Wish
03. Mandrake
04. Esnuria
05. Night Illusion
06. Flute & Percussion Duet
07. Percolations
08. Shadows Of
09. Expresso Reprise
10. Gattox

Didier Malherbe - Sax, flutes
Allan Holdsworth - guitar
Francis Moze - bass
Pierre Moerlen - drums, percussion
Benoit Moerlen - vibraphone
Mireille Bauer - vibraphone, marimba
Mino Cinelli - percussion

FLAC - Gong_1976-10-25_France_FLAC.rar


Mp3 - Gong_1976-10-25_France_mp3.rar

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gong - 1974-11-04 - Postaula, Bremen, Germany

Gong
1974-11-04
Postaula, Bremen, Germany

Pre-FM Recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Going back to the early days of Soft Machine, when singer-guitarist Daevid Allen was denied re-entry into the UK following a French tour (1967), he settled in Paris, and along with his partner, vocalist Gilli Smyth, formed a new band, called Gong. Although both the personnel and style of the band shifted regularly through the early years and their first album (Magick Brother, 1970), by their 2nd album, Camembert Electrique (1971), they had established the sort of hippie, progressive, psychedelic/space-rock they became known for. Their next three albums (Flying Teapot-1972, Angel's Egg-1973, and You-1974) comprise the continuing story of their Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, which chronicles the adventures of Zero the Hero, the Good Witch Yoni and the Pot Head Pixies from the Planet Gong (yes, it's that kind of band), and is generally considered the prime period of Gong. Although lineups still fluctuated regularly, this period featured the classic lineup of Daevid Allen (vovals, guitar), joined by Steve Hillage (guitar), Mike Howlett (bass), Didier Malherbe (saxes, flute), Tim Blake (synthesizers), Pierre Moerlen (drums, percussion), Mirelle Bauer (percussion), and Gilli Smyth (vocal improvisations). Most of this form of the band also participated in recording Steve Hillage's first solo album, Fish Rising, around this time. However, this stage of the band came to an end when in 1975, Daevid Allen suddenly refused to go on stage citing a "wall of force" preventing him doing so, and abruptly quit the band. Gong continued without him (and Tim Blake, who had quit earlier) but Steve Hillage was increasingly uncomfortable in the band without Allen, and left during the recording of their next album, Shamal (1976). At that time, the band was split into 2 factions, with Howlett wanting to continue with vocals, and Moerlen and his cohorts pushing for an all instrumental, more jazz fusion-focused band. Moerlen won out and began shaping the band into a mallet percussion-based progressive jazz-rock band. The first album under this new direction was Gazeuse! (1976, re-titled Expresso in North America). Although the band retained the name Gong for an additional album, Expresso II (1978), due to contractual reasons, this band had little in common with the original Gong, and subsequently changed it's name to Pierre Moerlen's Gong for all subsequent albums (more on them later). But Daevid Allen was not quite finished with Gong-related bands either, and would form and/or encourage several other incarnations in subsequent years, forming Planet Gong from Here & Now in 1977 and New York Gong in 1979, and Gilli Smyth (with Allen's approval) also formed Mother Gong around this time, all keeping the Gong sound going. In later years, Allen started Gongmaison in 1989, which eventually went back to just being Gong permanently in 1992, and has continued on in various forms since then, even after the deaths of Daevid Allen (2015) and Gilli Smyth (2016).
Here we have a great Pre-FM recording from the tale end of the classic period of the band, in late 1974 touring to support You, and featuring a variety of pieces from their Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, and various weirdness    

Tracklist:
01. Magick Mother Invocation / Master Builder
02. Perfect Mystery
03. Tropical Fish
04. I Never Glid Before
05. Sun Song (I Love It's Holy Mystery)
06. Flute Salad
07. Oily Way
08. Outer Temple Gliss
09. Inner Temple Gliss
    Gliss Gliss (Flying Teapot)
    A Sprinkling Of Clouds
10. You Can't Kill Me
11. On The Isle Of Everywhere
12. Get It Inner
13. Ya Never Blow Your Trip Forever
14. Why Don't You Try

Daevid Allen (guitar,voc)
Steve Hillage (guitar,voc)
Mike Howlett (guitar, bass)
Didier Malherbe (sax,flute)
Tim Blake (synth)
Laurie Allen (drums)
Miquette Giraudy (voc,dance)
Lisa Bois (percussion)
Venus Deluxe (Sound mixing)

FLAC - Gong_1974-11-04_Bremen_FLAC.rar


mp3 - Gong_1974-11-04_Bremen_mp3.rar

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Soft Machine - 1975-01-10 - Enschede, The Netherlands

Soft Machine
1975-01-10
Vrijhof Cultuurcentrum, Universiteit Twente
Enschede, The Netherlands

Soundboard recording (unknown lineage), very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions
 

Continuing with Soft Machine and the Canterbury Scene in the '70's: With original drummer Robert Wyatt's departure in late 1971 (and the formation of his new band, Matching Mole), followed by the loss of reeds man Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge was the last original member of the band left to carry on. So, in came John Marshall (drums) and Karl Jenkins (reeds, keyboards) for the recording of their sixth album (Six, 1973), and a further progression into jazz fusion. Bassist Hugh Hopper was then replaced by Roy Babbington for Seven (1973) as Jenkins took over the role of leader and primary composer. In 1975, another major change took place with the addition of fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth, marking the debut of guitar as a prominent melody instrument to the band's sound, and the release of Bundles (1975). Although Holdsworth didn't stay long, guitar remained a prominent sound on their subsequent album Softs (1976), with John Etheridge replacing Holdsworth. But this was essentially the end of Soft Machine (for the time being), as original member Ratledge left during the recording of that album. However, the band did continue to tour into 1978. In the '80's, various members put together short-lived variations on the band, and later ('90's, '00's), various combinations and reunions of sorts formed under such band names as Soft Ware, Soft Works, and Soft Machine Legacy. Soft Machine Legacy was the longest-lasting of these (with John Etheridge, Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper, and John Marshall) releasing several albums through the mid-2000's, and continuing on even after further member losses (Dean died in 2006, replaced by Theo Travis; Hopper died in 2009, replaced by Roy Babbington), all the way to 2015. In 2015, the remaining band (Etheridge, Travis, Babbington, Marshall) went back to the original name, Soft Machine, and continues right up to the present day. The music featured here today is from the 1975 lineup that featured Alan Holdsworth and Karl Jenkins.
 
Tracklist:
CD 1
1. The Floating World
2. Bundles
3. Land Of The Bag Snake
4. Ealing Comedy
5. The Man Who Waved At Trains
6. Peff
7. North Point
8. Hazard Profile Pt. 1
9. Hazard Profile Pt. 2
10. Hazard Profile Pt. 3
11. Hazard Profile Pt. 4
12. Hazard Profile Pt. 5
CD 2
1. Four Gongs Two Drums
2. Improv 1
3. audience
4. Song Of Aeolus
5. Improv 2
Bonus:
6. Dave DiMartino interview with Mike Ratledge & Allan Holdsworth
   (East Lansing, Michigan, 3 November 1974)

Allan Holdsworth - guitar
Mike Ratledge - organ, synth
Karl Jenkins - oboe, sax, recorder, piano
Roy Babbington - bass
John Marshall - drums
 


FLAC - Soft Machine_1975-01-10_Enschede_Netherlands_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Soft Machine_1975-01-10_Enschede_Netherlands_mp3.rar
 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Soft Machine - 1970-1971 - Rotterdam, Breda, The Netherlands

Soft Machine
1970-10-24
De Doelen, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Plus:
1971-03-15
Het Turfschip, Breda, Netherlands

Soundboard recordings, very good quality
Rotterdam show available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions
Breda show only available as Mp3 (320 kbps)

Soft Machine (originally The Soft Machine) were one of the pioneering psychedelic/progressive rock bands of the '60's with a free-form improvisational style that paved the way for what would become jazz-rock fusion. Originally formed in London in 1966 by Daevid Allen (guitar), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals), Robert Wyatt (drums), and Mike Ratledge (organ, keyboards), Soft Machine were involved in the early UK Underground scene and developed a growing reputation around Europe. However, this form of the band didn't last long, as when returning from a series of gigs in France in 1967, Daevid Allen (an Australian) was denied entry to the UK due to overstaying his visa. So, Allen was out and went back to Paris and formed another influential prog rock band, Gong (more about them later). Soft Machine continued on as a trio for awhile, recording and releasing their first album (The Soft Machine, 1968), considered an essential root album of psychedelic/progressive rock/jazz fusion. However, Kevin Ayers also left the band (to record a solo album) following a successful US tour (as the opening act for Jimi Hendrix) in 1968, and was later replaced by Hugh Hopper, for the recording of their 2nd album (Volume Two, 1969). At this time they transitioned away from the more psychedelic aspects to all instrumental and more of a pure jazz fusion style. Saxophonist Elton Dean was added in late 1969 and this lineup remained for their next 2 albums (Third-1970, Fourth-1971). Third was notable for its 4 extended suites (One per side of the double album), and became their best-selling and one of their most famous albums. This is the timeframe of the included shows here, from late 1970 and early 1971 following the release of each of these albums featuring this line-up. But shortly after this, the line-up would change again, as Wyatt left the band before the end of 1971, and Dean would also leave in 1972, leaving Mike Ratledge as the only original member going forward. Soft Machine was one of the early and central bands of what became known as the Canterbury Scene, which referred to a loose assemblage of intertwined bands and musicians originally based in and around the Canterbury region in the '60's and early '70's, that developed their own improvisational progressive style, incorporating a certain whimsicality with touches of psychedelia into a progressive rock/jazz fusion. Other notable Canterbury scene bands included Gong, Caravan, Hatfield and the North, and National Health (more from some of these later). So, here is Soft Machine and the progressive-proto jazz fusion era of Wyatt, Ratledge, Hopper, and Dean. 
   
Tracklist:
1970-10-24
01. Teeth  8:26
02. Slightly All the Time > Kings And Queens  16:17
03. Esther's Nose Job  10:38
1971-03-15 (incomplete)
04. Facelift
05. Virtually
06. Fletcher’s Blemish
07. Out-Bloody-Rageous
08. Eamonn Andrews
09. All White
10. Pigling Bland

Elton Dean - alto sax, saxello
Hugh Hopper - bass
Mike Ratledge - keyboards
Robert Wyatt - drums

FLAC (1970-10-24 show only) - Soft Machine_1970-10-24_Rotterdam_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - (both shows together) - Soft Machine_1970-1971_Rotterdam,Breda_Netherlands_Mp3.rar

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Decade of BB

Quality Music Blog for a Tenth of a Century

Before continuing with posts for my current Tribute to Progressive Rock feature, I must take time out to acknowledge a rather momentous occasion, the tenth anniversary of this blog. Yes, that's right, believe it or not, the BB Chronicles has managed to stick around for a whole ten years! In blog years that's almost like 100. Ok, so, it may not be that much, but it is something, and it has survived long after so many other music blogs have come and gone. So, here we are, after 10 years, and although I post at a somewhat sporadic rate, we have covered a whole lot over the years, from features covering country-rock to pub rock to power pop to progressive rock, from The Kinks to Neil Young to Genesis to Tom Petty, from local to international music scenes, the obscure to the mega-popular, from Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah to Steve Goodman to Golden Smog to The Vulgar Boatmen, from Aimee Mann to Zoe Daschanel, from The Grays to The Beatles, from America to Wilco, etc., and everything in between, on several hundred music posts, hundreds of thousands of downloads, and millions of pageviews, and it's all still here (mostly). And what I have put out here is some really quality stuff, all music and artists that I personally enjoy very much, and many of these shows are (or at least were) not readily available elsewhere. I try to provide some background and context to the music and artists, as well as my own commentary, rather than just unadorned music files, to give those new to these artists some perspective and history, to explore the music further. And in that sense I hope that what I have provided here has been useful and worthwhile, as well as musically satisfying. And so, I am somewhat proud of what I have assembled here over the past decade, and I hope it has been something that you come back to often and have been introduced to some new music here that you really enjoy, to expand your musical horizons and enjoyment, and be a positive addition to your musical experience as well as your music collection.

And once again, as I have each year at this time, I also want to take this time to thank and celebrate all the others out there who have made so much of this great music, which is not available for purchase anywhere, freely available to all who wish to download and enjoy it. I am only able to offer these downloads because others before me have made them available. So, to all the other bloggers, tapers, forum posters, and music fans that have collected these recordings and made them available over the internet, and most importantly, to all the great artists and musicians out there that have created and performed this wonderful music and allow these recordings to be freely exchanged, I offer a huge and heartfelt Thank You. And again, I implore everyone to purchase all the official releases of your favorite artists, as well as, wherever possible, go see them live in concert. The music here serves to supplement, not replace, all of their officially released music. They are supported by fans like us.


So, I plan to continue on with this little endeavor for as long as possible, such as it is. Perhaps part of my secret to longevity is that I don't spend an inordinate amount of time working on this (just what I can spare at the moment), thus I have not gotten burned out from it. Anyway, I very much enjoy doing it, just have a limited amount of time I can devote to it. But I will always strive to provide new and interesting content that is generally not readily available from many of the the other music blogs. As I've said previously, I do wish I could get more comments, feedback, and discussion from you, the readers of this blog. Please, let me know what you think of what is here, provide your own insight and perspective, and some real discussion of some of this great music. I would love to hear and see more from you, if possible. So, for know, I'll just keep things going as they are, and I hope you will stop by occasionally, check it out, and and join me on this journey. Thanks to all.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Gentle Giant - 1975-01-27 - Agora Theater, Cleveland, OH

Gentle Giant
1975-01-27
The Agora, Cleveland, OH

FM Broadcast (WMMS-FM) Recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and mp3 (320 kbps) versions

OK, to start my tribute to progressive rock (featuring its breadth of scope and some of the excellent but less commercially successful artists), here we have Gentle Giant, for no other reason than they were where my progressive rock concert experience started. The first official rock concert I attended (other than local events at high school, etc.) was a Procol Harum show at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago, IL, on April 13, 1973 (almost exactly 45 years ago). Gentle Giant was the opening act, and let's just say I was mightily impressed by them, their musical style, and their multi-instrumental versatility (I remember, in particular, being completely blown away by the 4-part recorder section of 'The Advent in Panurge' (which can be heard in the recording featured here in the 'Excerpts from Octopus' track).
Gentle Giant was formed in Portsmouth, UK, in 1970 by the musically diverse, multi-instrumentalist Shulman Brothers, Phil (sax, trumpet, clarinet, etc.), Derek (sax, recorder), and Ray (bass, violin), after some frustrating earlier experiences with various pop and soul bands, when they teamed up with a couple other talented multi-instrumentalistst, Gary Green (guitar, mandolin, recorder, etc.) and Kerry Minnear (keyboards, vibes, cello, etc.). What set Gentle Giant apart from other aspiring progressive rock bands of the time was their versatility and musicality, their complex and sophisticated musical structure, and incorporation of a wide swath of musical styles, including folk, jazz, blues, soul, and classical. And even their "classical" influences were more diverse, incorporating medieval, baroque, and modernist styles in addition to the more common Romantic period classics. Minnear, in particular, was classically trained, with a degree in composition. Their compositions are adventurous and challenging, and perfect for progressive rock. Their only weakness is that, although almost all members sing and do multi-part harmonies, none of them have a great lead voice (although it has infamously been told that Elton John auditioned for and was turned down as lead vocalist). Through their first 2 albums (Gentle Giant-1970, Acquiring the Taste-1971), they were experimenting and finding their sound, but not finding much of an audience. Their pursuit of musicianship didn't fit the mainstream styles of the time. Their stated aim on Acquiring the Taste was to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular". Their next album, Three Friends (1972) was their first concept album, and also first released in the U.S.   For the band's first tour in the U.S. later that year, they were unfortunately booked as the opening act for Black Sabbath, and were not greeted well (mostly booed) by Sabbath fans. Their next album, Octopus (1972-UK, 1973-US), perhaps their best album, marked the beginning of their peak years. For their US tour this time (Spring 1973), they were paired with Procol Harum, a much better audience for them (and where I saw them). Although Phil left following the Octopus tour (couldn't handle touring),  the band continued with a couple more powerful concept albums (In a Glass House-1973, The Power and The Glory-1974), and were building a solid following, although never quite breaking through commercially. By 1975, with a change in record labels and the album Free Hand, they started to try to polish their sound and style to reach a wider audience, resulting in their most successful album to date. But further moves over the next few years to simplify and streamline their songs to achieve a more accessible pop sound (and wider audience) resulted in diminishing returns, and the band eventually split in 1980. But, throughout their career, their live shows have always been sensational and much appreciated by the progressive fans. Although there have been many calls for reunions over the years, there has been no official Gentle Giant reunions, albeit a few unofficial partial ones for specific events. I think this is another one of those bands that are looked back on with much more love and respect now than when they were originally around. So, here is a concert from those peak years, a very nice sounding FM broadcast from 1975, from The Power and The Glory Tour (Unfortunately, I could not find any recordings from the 1973 tour I saw them on, but this one is very good). 

Tracklist:
1. Cogs in Cogs
2. Proclamation ->
3. Funny Ways
4. The Runaway ->
5. Experience
6. Excerpts from Octopus
7. So Sincere ->
8. drums
9. Mr. Class & Quality ->
10. Valedictory

Band:
Derek Shulman: vocals, mulberry, saxophone, recorder, bass, percussion
Ray Shulman: bass, acoustic guitar, violin, recorder, percussion, vocals
Kerry Minnear: keyboards, cello, recorder, vibes, percussion, acoustic guitar, vocals
Gary Green: guitar, recorder, percussion, vocals
John ‘Pugwash’ Weathers: drums, percussion, vibes

FLAC - Gentle Giant_1875-01-27_Cleveland(FM)_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Gentle Giant_1875-01-27_Cleveland(FM)_mp3.rar