April 21, 2018 - April 27, 2018
Jimi Hendrix: ‘Both Sides of the Sky’
Now, while nobody questions the genius of Jimi Hendrix his light burned
brightly across the sky for far too short a time. During his brief time on
this planet he changed everything: music, fashion, attitudes, the list is
endless. He was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of
Rock and his achievements in his four year journey leading the music world
are littered with monuments to his greatness. His first two albums are
classics, whilst the third, an ambitious double album called “Electric
Ladyland” was a worldwide number one and still sells in truck-loads today.
Jimi Hendrix performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in
(Bruce Fleming/AP Photo)
Hendrix played many
historical concerts too, including the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, going
on after The Who and overshadowing them completely (I think the only time
this ever happened to the British band.) He also headlined the Woodstock
festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, tragically just
months before his death in September of that year at the age of 27.
Sadly, some 48 years
after his death, the directors of the Jimi Hendrix family estate are still
trying to find new ways of repackaging old recordings, remixing stuff and
doing whatever they have to do to make a new Hendrix album, something they
hope will be essential for any true fan to have.
This effort under
review is the third in a three-part trilogy supposedly following up on
“Electric Ladyland” (have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?) The first
part released in 2010 was called “Valleys of Neptune” and the second in 2013
was titled “People, Hell and Angels”, so they are rather scraping the very
bottom of the barrel with all this.
That is not to say this
particular collection is all bad, far from it. The album opens with a good
up-tempo version of “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters, with Hendrix playing a
funky Chuck Berry riff with plenty of wah-wah and backed by his friends
Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. There is also a fine version of
“Hear My Train a Comin’” with a blistering Hendrix guitar solo.
As for the rest, well
there’s an early version of “Woodstock” sung by Stephen Stills with Hendrix
on bass guitar, another song called “$20 Fine” sung and written by Stills
(which would have been an outtake on one of his solo albums) and an
excellent version of Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do”, which features
some excellent slide guitar from Johnny Winter, but not much from Hendrix.
Hendrix and friends
retread water by going through yet more versions of “Lover Man” and
“Steppin’ Stone”, a throwaway blues track called “Georgia Blues” and a nice
little number called “Send My Love to Linda” with a progressive guitar solo
in it. The absolute nadir is kept for the last track “Cherokee Mist”, which
is over seven minutes of Hendrix messing about on a sitar. That really is
If you’re worried about
the Hendrix family estate, please don’t be, there are still plenty of people
out there buying the album. Jimi Hendrix never meant any of this stuff to
be released to a paying public and I’m sure he would be ashamed if he knew
For those of you
looking to buy some quality Hendrix, his first three albums are masterpieces
and there is an excellent four CD collection called “Jimi Hendrix
Experience”, which has enough to satisfy most, as does his greatest hits
compilation on an album called “Smash Hits”.
Three stars out of
Jimi Hendrix - lead and
bass guitar, sitar and vocals
Billy Cox – bass guitar
Buddy Miles - drums
Noel Redding – bass
Mitch Mitchel - drums
Johnny Winter - slide
Stephen Stills - organ
vocals and saxophone
Hear My Train A
Power of Soul
Things I Used To Do
Send My Love To
Written by Hells Bells and Mott The Dog who can be found looking through the
dustbins for recycled music at Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North
April 14, 2018 - April 20, 2018
Judas Priest: ‘Firepower’
“Firepower” is an apt
title for this album by the premier British heavy metal band – the mighty
Judas Priest. It is (inclusively) the 18th studio album from the band when
taking into account all previous incantations of the line-up, but this must
rate as the best since “Painkiller” in 1990.
Throughout the fourteen
tracks the band members are barely kept on their leash as they fire salvo
after salvo of heavy metal into their adoring fans. This is definitely not
music for the feint of hearted! As the guitars rip into the opening title
track “Firepower”, there is no letting up as Rob Halford lets forth with one
of his mighty screams before entreating the troops into battle. Of course,
what do you expect!
British heavy metal band Judas Priest.
The twin guitar attack
of Glenn Tipton and Ritchie Faulkner is the most feared in rock, backed by
the mightiest rhythm section in heavy metal - Ian Hill (the one remaining
member of Judas Priest through their many changes over the last nearly 50
years) on bass guitar and Scott Travis on drums.
The sound you get from
each track is pure heavy metal music in the Judas Priest style, which makes
it heavy metal at its best. “Firepower” is an excellent opener, and is
immediately backed up by tracks that are as good or even surpass it. Out of
several standouts, “Flamethrower” has to be right up there with one of the
best introductions to any Judas Priest song ever, and then it just takes off
at the speed of fire with the rhythm section thundering along behind it.
“Traitor’s Gate” begins
with a deceptively low guitar ripple before the chariots arrive to run you
over. Rob Halford’s vocals are particularly powerful on this song, making
you realize how the course of treason has to be brought to its correct
conclusion. When Halford sings… “My life’s been taken hostage and it’s
never coming back”… it leaves you knowing exactly how he stands on the
The first thirteen
tracks belt right out of your speakers like the proverbial bat out of hell
and all will be welcome additions to Judas Priest’s new upcoming set list.
The Priest bow out on a powerful ballad called “Sea of Red”, proving that
Halford’s voice can handle ballads as well as his trademark 1000 volt
rock’n’roll screaming. It’s a fitting ending to this fine collection from
one of Britain’s finest bands and the guitar work on this track is
mesmerizing, bringing the ballad to new heights.
The production work on
this album was done by Tom Allom, who keeps it clear, crisp and heavy. It’s
the first time he has worked with Judas Priest since 1990 on “Painkiller”.
His co-producer was Andy Sneap who has been drafted in to cover for Glenn
Tipton on band duties. Tipton has been bravely fighting the debilitating
effects of Parkinson’s disease for ten years but now feels that the rigors
of the road will be too much, so has passed the baton of one half of the
twin guitar line-up to Sneap for the Firepower Tour to support the album.
I am sure we all wish
Judas Priest the very best in their endeavors. Firepower gets a rock solid
Rob Halford - vocals
Glenn Tipton - lead
Ritchie Faulkner- lead
Ian Hill - bass guitar
Scott Travis - drums
Album artwork - Claudio
Evil Never Dies
Never The Heroes
Children Of The Sun
Guardians Of The Sun
Rising From The
Sea Of Red
Written By Mott The Dog and Hells Bells, both of who can be found breathing
fire at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR, North Pattaya.
April 7, 2018 - April 13, 2018
Fairport Convention: ‘Liege and Lief’
At the end of 1969 Fairport Convention
released an album that was to change the face of British rock, and define a
whole new genre: folk/rock. The fact that the album was released at all was
astonishing in itself, but these days it stands the test of time as a
groundbreaking work of genuine originality and bravery.
Fairport Convention first took wing
into the realms of British rock in 1967. Coming out of the North London
folk scene, at first the line-up was kept very flexible until they realized
that they might be onto something here. The line-up stabilized and Simon
Nicol took on guitar and vocal duties; a great man to have in any band as
adaptability was his middle name and enthusiasm he kept in bags. Ashley
Hutchings accepted the bass responsibilities, and being steeped in
traditional British folk music he became the unspoken leader cum spokesman
for the band.
On lead guitar and vocals was one of
the nicest men on the planet, Richard Thompson, who also just happened to be
one of the most original guitar players of his day. Thompson was a
distinctive vocalist and a talented songwriter, so all round a pretty useful
chap to have on board. Martin Lamble sat behind the skins and was the
drummer that every band envied, as not only could he keep time but he
brought with him a style all of his own. Meanwhile on lead vocals was the
impeccable Sandy Denny.
Due to their popularity, Fairport
Convention were almost constantly on the road and just when everything
seemed to be on the up and up, disaster struck. In June 1969, returning
from a gig in Birmingham, their van ran off the motorway and in this
terrible crash the lives of Martin Lamble and Richard Thomson’s girlfriend,
Jeannie Taylor, were snatched away.
Naturally the rest of the members of
the band were distraught, and at first could not bear the idea of carrying
on without their fallen comrades. But Joe Boyd, Fairport Convention’s
manager, rented a remote cottage in Hampshire and the remaining members of
the band were invited to live there while Dave Swarbrick was made a
permanent member of the group. A replacement for Martin Lamble had to be
found to allow the band to continue recording and touring. Dave Mattacks
seemed to have the right temperament and was an excellent drummer, but
collectively it was decided that a new direction had to be taken as the
others could not imagine playing the old songs without Lamble on drums.
Ashley Hutchings and Sandy Denny shared
a love for old traditional English folk songs - almost every day the two of
them would arrive back at the house with reams of new songs to show and play
for their friends and band mates. Everybody was in agreement this was the
way forward and once the band had decided where they were going the music
was laid down quickly and almost effortlessly. Daytimes were spent playing
football in the spacious gardens, or taking long walks with Dave Swarbrick’s
collie dog, but in the evening they would pick up their instruments and get
down to work.
The results were stupendous - a
landmark in rock‘n’roll history. Of the eight tracks, the album opens and
closes with originals: Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings’ “Come All Ye” sets
the mood perfectly while “Crazy Man Michael” by Dave Swarbrick and Richard
Thompson brings the album to a fitting close. In the middle there is
Richard Thompson’s beautiful “Farewell, Farewell” plus five songs dug out by
Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings, which have been arranged by the band.
The medley in the middle is a joyous
collection of tunes, jigs and reels but perhaps the standout track on the
album is “Matty Groves”, all eight minutes of it, as it tells a tale of love
between the classes. At first Sandy Denny’s beautiful voice leads us
through the story, with its sad conclusion before the band breaks in
rampaging towards the climax with a fine musical battle between fiddle and
“Liege and Lief” (1969) to this day is
THE British folk rock album - a seminal work which said it all, and launched
a thousand imitators. It was certainly Fairport Convention’s finest hour.
Strange then that before the album had even hit shop shelves, and after one
radio broadcast, an appearance on Top Of The Pops to promote the non-LP “Si
Tu Dois Partir”, which actually got to 21 in the charts, and only nine
concerts, Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings left the band; Denny to form
Fortheringay and Hutchings to Steeleye Span. Of course the others quickly
got over the shock, picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and carried
on, having a new album (“Full House”) in the charts by the following July.
“Liege and Lief” gets an unreserved 5
Sandy Denny – vocals
Dave Swarbrick – fiddle, viola
Dave Mattacks – drums
Simon Nicol - guitar and vocals
Richard Thompson - guitar and vocals
Ashley Hutchings - bass and vocals
Come all Ye
Medley (The Lark In The Morning /
Rakish Paddy / Foxhunters Jig / Toss The Feathers)
Crazy Man Michael.
March 31, 2018 - April 6, 2018
Ten Years After: ‘Watt’
Ten Years After.
Ten Years After formed
in 1968 and released 8 charting albums over the following six years. They
shot to fame after performing their standard bearer song, “I’m Going Home”
on the 1969 film “Woodstock”, becoming one of the biggest bands in the world
as well as perhaps the hardest working. They were almost constantly on tour
in America where demand for their live shows was staggering. What time off
they did have from touring, not only the United States but also Europe, saw
them whisked into a studio to record a new album to keep their record
Alvin Lee was the focal
point of the group, playing lead guitar, singing, writing all the songs and
doing most of the media. It’s a wonder how the band kept going for such a
“Watt”, released in
1970, was their fifth album and was released in the same year as their
previous offering “Cricklewood Green”. The band recorded the material in
September and the album was released in December, just in time for
Christmas, and it probably stands out as their landmark work.
The opener “I’m Coming
On” is a compulsive rocker, with the band flexing their collective musical
muscle: Alvin Lee takes on a smooth killer solo while his bandmates power in
behind him. Ten Years After were never afraid to use the tricks of the
studio and the sound is overlapped with echo, but the solo is played
straight down the middle and serves to whet the appetite. This is followed
by a longer workout in “My Baby Left Me” (I would have thought with their
work schedule they would have hardly missed who was coming and going!)
Starting off at a slow grinding speed, the gears are quickly worked through
until the band are up and running at full speed, pausing only to draw
breathe at the vocals. But rock’n’roll soon comes and takes back control,
with Alvin Lee plainly enjoying himself with some scat singing at the end.
The plaintive ballad
“Think About the Times” follows this with the piano leading the first verse
and chorus and accompanied by some neat work from the rhythm section. The
band then get their funk out and rip through “I Say Yeah” with plenty of
extravagant use of the voice box and the wah wah pedals to keep the interest
levels up and this song has very good dynamics.
The next humbly short
ditty is “The Band With No Name”, a nice little composition that could have
come straight from a spaghetti western movie. In contrast the next two
songs allow the band to really stretch out and give the world a bit of a
taste of what Ten Years After were all about.
“Gonna Run” creeps up
on you and then smothers and gathers you up along the way. At the midpoint
of the song Alvin Lee proudly shows off his Jazz influences with some very
fluid guitar work before Chick Churchill joins in on piano. “She Lies In
The Morning” is a loose structured rocker allowing the band plenty of scope
to show off their talents. All the studio effects the band can find are
brought out and put to use in an orgy of rock music, with a beautifully
played dream sequence in the middle.
The final track comes
from Ten Years After’s encore at the Isle of Wight festival that year, a
sizzling version of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”, which leaves the
listener and the band breathless. It also shows quite clearly why Alvin Lee
was considered the fastest guitarist in the west. 5 stars!
Ten Years After:
Alvin Lee - guitar and
Chick Churchill -
Leo Lyons – bass guitar
Ric Lee – drums
I’m Comin’ On
My Baby Left Me
Think About The
I Say Yeah
The Band With No
She Lies In The
Sweet Little Sixteen
Note: Written by Mott
The Dog who can often be found resting in his kennel at Jameson’s Irish Pub
on Soi AR, North Pattaya.