Posts Tagged ‘ 1972 ’

Algarnas Tradgard “Garden of the Elks”

Algarnas Tradgard

There are 7 tracks on 1972’s Garden of the Elks album by the mighty Algarnas Tradgard. Within these grooves are some of the spaciest rock ever committed to tape. It’s an underground masterpiece and just one example as to how fertile the Swedish rock scene was in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Anyone who enjoyed A Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd, or Amon Duul’s masterpieces will love this staggering record. The band was a loose knit community of artists, musicians and freaks who were into the avante garde and local folk scenes. You can hear these influences within the song structures and the way these musicians approach their instruments (the violin is an excellent touch!). The album itself is one of the eeriest recordings of its time and vocals are shared among male and female vocalists.

Children of Possibilities vaguely recalls Nico’s work with the Velvet Underground on their monumental debut, including bashing gongs, violin, a great production and serene, tripped out vocals. There are a couple of monster instrumentals that bookend the album. Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains is a strong avante garde instrumental that drones for nearly 13 and a half minutes!! Rings of Saturn may be the album’s centerpiece though. It’s 7 minutes of pure acid space with some superb guitar playing and an overall doom laden feel.

I cannot express how essential this exploratory album is for heads (people into psychedelia). Garden of the Elks is so forward looking that even today, people still have not unlocked its secrets nor do they understand its worth. Anyone wanting to dig a little deeper should check out bands such as International Harvester, Amon Duul, and Embryo.

This album is listed either as “Garden of the Elks” or “Framtiden AR Ett.”

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“Children of Possibilities”

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We All Together (self-titled)

We All Together

We All Together’s first album came out sometime in the early 70’s. The band hailed from Peru and had roots in Laghonia, who themselves released two good late 60’s psychedelic albums. The music is written and sung in English and has a strong late 60’s Beatles influence.

Not the most original album of the year, We All Together is very good though, including four covers of Paul McCarthy/Badfinger and ten group originals. The covers are strong including great versions of Tomorrow, Carry On Till Tomorrow and Some People Never Know.

The original compositions are what make this album worth owning. Hey Revolution sounds like a White Album era outtake with Lennonesque vocals and hard blues guitar riffs. The same goes for Dear Sally which is also characterized by some angry vocals and pounding piano that recall Lennon’s first proper solo album, Plastic Ono Band. This really hints at how tight a grip the Beatle’s influence was on musicians throughout the world (keep in mind the Beatles were falling apart at this juncture). It’s A Sin To Go Away is the most popular song on this album due to it’s inclusion on the Nuggets compilation. This South American psychedelic classic begins with Procol Harum style organ then procedes with thick fuzz guitar riffs, backward and phased guitar solos and helium high vocals.

None of the songs reach this kind of high but overall the album does not have any real weak points and is solid all the way through. We All Together released another strong album the following year entitled 2. These albums are recommended to fans of power pop and Beatles inspired rock.

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“Some People Never Know”

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The Flatlanders “More a Legend Than a Band”

More A Legend Than A Band

This became my favorite new record in under a full day. Normally, we are looking at albums that we’ve sat with, kinda know inside out, but this is an emergency. It’s been an evil secret that nobody told me about this one sooner.

Originally released in 1972, and only available on 8-track cassette until 1990, when it was finally put out on CD- just in time for the alt-country kids to scoop it up- this is a perfect country album. If you’ve ever detected a note of irony when the Byrds put their cowboy hearts on for Sweetheart, this is the record to set you straight. The real deal (and you know because it’s on Rounder).

It’s hard to describe what it is about the sweet spot this record hits, but here’s a shot: The Flatlanders match an electric sound with acoustic, bluegrass instrumentation (sans banjo). They play in an old-timey (lazy fiddle) way with a swing in their step, and add a nice psych touch with the musical saw (imagine a tasteful theremin adding hints of accompaniment on about half the record). Jimmie Dale’s singing is A+ number one and the harmony is also great. Oh and listen to that fine dobro work on Stars In My Life.

Or look at it this way: 13 great new songs to love, a beautiful forgotten classic for your shelves, and a serious contender for Sweetheart of the Rodeo’s coveted country-rock trophy spot. Yes, it’s the newest record in my collection, but I think I would grab for it first on my way to the island.

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“Jole Blon”

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The Watersons “Bright Phoebus”

Bright Phoebus

The Watersons are to English folk what the Carter Family are to American Country & Western music, an institution. Bright Phoebus is the white elephant in their great catalog, an album of original material (not one traditional cover amongst its 12 songs!!).

Mike and Lal Waterson wrote these compositions and trade off vocal duties throughout the album. A superstar cast of musicians (Martin Charthy and Richard Thompson handle guitars and backup vocals) assist them throughout, creating what some have called the Sgt. Pepper of the English folk scene.

Bright Phoebus was released in 1972, though I believe many of these songs were recorded in the late 1960’s – I am not positive on recording dates. The album itself, is very warm and eclectic, encompassing a variety of styles such as psychedelia, rock, folk, country, and rockabilly. All these styles are filtered through a unique English sensibility which gives the record originality and origin. There are some great acid folk/folk-rock moves in the album opener, Rubber Band, which has some of the strangest lyrics this reviewer has ever heard. This song is followed by the enchanting Scarecrow, a pastoral acid folk song sung by Mike Waterson which is absolutely marvelous. Magic Man is another good acid influenced number with some playful childlike lyrics and bouncy percussive sounds. Fine Horsemen is a very serious folk song with some beautiful singing by Lal and a excellent string arrangement.

The album ends with Bright Phoebus, an upbeat country ditty that brings great promise and optimism to a very serious folk-rock masterpiece. It’s one of the highlights of this great record, which never makes all-time album lists but surely deserves to!

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Maxfield Parrish “It’s A Cinch To Give Legs To Old Hard-Boiled Eggs”

It's A Cinch To Give Legs To Hard-Boiled Eggs

Maxfield Parrish’s only album was released in 1972, well after the band had split up. Members from the great California band Kaleidoscope produced and played on this underappreciated record which was originally recorded in early 1969. Had this album seen release in 1969, it would have been regarded today, as an early, innovative slab of country-rock.

It’s A Cinch strongly recalls the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers/Easy Rider era or even the New Riders early material (great stuff!!), with strong songwriting, superb musicianship and a few nifty psych/space rock moves. There are some great, catchy acoustic rock songs in “Julie Columbus” and “Cruel Deception.” ┬áThe weirder creations, “The Widow,” an 8 minute mantra, and “The Untransmuted Child” work really well too. In particular, “The Untransmuted Child” is excellent, sounding like a trippy mountain hymn with hillbilly vocals, organ, harmonica and hallucinary guitar sustain.

Fans of the Byrds, Dillards, and Euphoria should not miss this one before it goes out of print forever!

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“The Untransmuted Child”

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EDIT: Read the comments below to hear the story direct from lead singer David Biasotti and some of the other folks behind the creation of this record.

Steven Stills “Manassas”

Manassas

Check out the album cover. Now, that, is boss! It’s kind of grungy, got every player’s name just as big as the title; it’s almost as if they decided to call the album Manassas because it happened to already be on the photograph. To me, it says, “Look, the 60s are over, we’re not making some artsy album, we just got a kick-ass crew here and we’re going to play it straight up for ya.” Yup, got to give it up for that classic album cover.

I figured this would be a good album with which to introduce the country rock angle of this here blog. But Manassas (technically the band and album name) goes a bit beyond simple categorization here. The album is divided into 4 parts, as briefly described below:

The Raven
Imagine you walk into a bar, and the dudes pictured above are all rocking. Yeah, ok, great, another bar band. But as soon as you order your beer and take your first sip, you suddenly realize you’re not blabbing on as usual, and nobody else is either, because the whole audience, yourself included, is entranced with the bar band, who, to your ultimate surprise, has been teaching your heart to pump to a new rhythm.

The Wilderness
Where I’m from, the kids used to say the same thing all the time: “I like all music… except for classical and country of course.” Hate to say I may have been one of them, but things changed when I finally caught the country bug… and my music collection started to get a lot better too. If you find the need to skip this whole section, basically straight-forward bluegrass and country music, the album is still worth your while, but I wouldn’t skip this part for my life, nor would I recommend skipping it.

Consider
This is the part you want to be driving on the open road with. By the time we get to How Far, it starts to feel like a folk-tinged shadow of the first section, but by now we’re firm believers. Damn, I’m glad I got this album, we say. And we keep driving on with that long-reaching look in our eye.

Rock & Roll is Here to Stay
And just when we thought we had made it, Manassas puts the nail in the coffin. Just in case you were braindead for the previous fifty minutes, the 8:00 minute Treasure is here and will serve to remind you what is going on.

Typically, an album this ambitious just couldn’t be good. No way could they pull it off. But, damn it all, Manassas really hits the spot, and it sounds great today. It’s hard to imagine rock music that makes you feel so good it’s like you already knew the tunes, but this is it.

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“Anyway”

Go on and Get it

Stephen Stills - Manassas