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Update April 2018


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Mott the Dog
 

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 1967.
(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 that.

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 it was.

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 five.

Musicians:

Jimi Hendrix - lead and bass guitar, sitar and vocals

Billy Cox – bass guitar

Buddy Miles - drums

Noel Redding – bass guitar

Mitch Mitchel - drums

Johnny Winter - slide guitar

Stephen Stills - organ and vocals

LonnieYoungblood - vocals and saxophone

Track List:

Mannish Boy

Lover Man

Hear My Train A Comin’

Steppin’ Stone

$20 Fine

Power of Soul

Jungle

Things I Used To Do

Georgia Blues

Sweet Angel

Woodstock

Send My Love To Linda

Cherokee Mist

Note: 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 Pattaya.


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 subject.

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 5 stars.

Judas Priest:

Rob Halford - vocals

Glenn Tipton - lead guitar

Ritchie Faulkner- lead guitar

Ian Hill - bass guitar

Scott Travis - drums

Album artwork - Claudio Bergamin

Track List:

Firepower

Lightning Strikes

Evil Never Dies

Never The Heroes

Necromancer

Children Of The Sun

Guardians Of The Sun

Rising From The Ruins

Flamethrower

Spectre

Traitors Gate

No Surrender

Lone Wolf

Sea Of Red

Note: 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.

Fairport Convention.

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 lead guitar.

“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 stars.

Fairport Convention:

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

Album tracks:

Come all Ye

Reynardine

Matty Groves

Farewell, Farewell

The Deserter

Medley (The Lark In The Morning / Rakish Paddy / Foxhunters Jig / Toss The Feathers)

Tam Lin

Crazy Man Michael.


March 31, 2018 - April 6, 2018

Ten Years After: ‘Watt’

 

Ten Years After.

Alvin Lee.

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 company happy.

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 long time.

“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 vocals

Chick Churchill - keyboards

Leo Lyons – bass guitar

Ric Lee – drums

Track List:

I’m Comin’ On

My Baby Left Me

Think About The Times

I Say Yeah

The Band With No Name

Gonna Run

She Lies In The Morning

Sweet Little Sixteen (Live)

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.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Jimi Hendrix: ‘Both Sides of the Sky’

Judas Priest: ‘Firepower’

Fairport Convention: ‘Liege and Lief’

Ten Years After: ‘Watt’


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