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Update February 2019


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Mott the Dog

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John Eddie: ‘Who the Hell is John Eddie?’

Who the Hell is John Eddie? Well, let old Mott the Dog tell you. John Eddie is a rocker from New Jersey, very much in the mould of Bruce Springstein, John Cougar, or Jon Bon Jovi, who is definitely over the age of forty and has written the ultimate road album. …and here it is for your perusal.

John Eddie spent the first twenty years of his life trying to be a rock icon. He was always respected in the music business but his partying lifestyle was one of legend and always left him with a bad boy reputation to live down. However, it was his rock & roll contemporaries who went on to fame and fortune, playing to the large stadiums while Eddie has yet to make that final step. But I can comfortably predict that this album will change all that.

Eddie has surrounded himself with a bunch of his mates to form a band who fortunately include some of the finest musicians that are available in the United States of America.

John Eddie.

 

Like any road dog, Eddie has had his ups and downs, kicks, scrapes, and formed views on other beings that have crossed his life. So that’s what you get in the songs; a potted history of life, sometimes uplifting, sometimes depressing, or full of sorrow, or just good old outrageously funny. Stretched over the twelve songs on this album you run the full gamut of all these emotions.

The guitars are played by Kenny Vaughn and PK Lavengood, sometimes belting out the licks and at other times laying down sympathetic simple chords to add emotion to Eddie’s thoughts. Jim Dickson does a wonderful job with the keyboard arrangements, keeping it simple while not leaving any holes, and Kenny Aronoff puts the backbone into all the rhythms, whilst on bass guitar is the wonderful Kenny Aaronson, all long sideburns, shades and violently colored jackets who adds his own distinctive style to proceedings.

Welcome to the world according to John Eddie, sometimes interesting, always controversial, heartbreaking if he wants to be, and very irreverent. However, you cannot help but forgive a guy who has written two songs such as “Forty” (although this song was written in 2003 and John admits to being 43 in the song, maybe on the re-issue it should be called “Sixty”) and “Play Some Skynyrd” - the latter being a wonderful anthem to any band that has ever been heckled from a loudmouth in the crowd to play something he knows rather than make an effort to listen to something new. “Forty” will put a wry smile on the lips of anybody who has reached that remarkable milestone (Mott is 329 in dog years, you work it out.)

In “Play Some Skynard” you also get the answer to the meaning of life, what more do you want for your buck? Well, actually you do get a bit more. If you leave your CD on play after the last official song it does not take long for you to discover two extra, hidden, un-credited songs tacked onto the end.

Album Rating: 5 Stars

Track List:

If You’re Here When I Get Back

Let me Down Hard

Jesus Is Coming

Family Tree

Low Life

Everything

Place You Go

Nobody’s Happy

Sh*thole Bar

Forty

Play Some Skynyrd

It Doesn’t Get Better Than This

(Plus two bonus tracks)

Musicians:

John Eddie - vocals and acoustic guitar

Kenny Aronoff – drums

PK Lavengood – guitar

Kenny Vaughn – guitar

Jim Dickson – keyboards

Kenny Aaronson - bass guitar


The Strawbs: ‘Live at the BBC Volume Two –In Concert’

The Strawbs are shown in this early 1970s photo.

The Strawbs started out as a bluegrass/folk outfit in 1964 before progressing to become over the years a full blown pop/rock band, and very good they have always been too. They keep playing concerts to this very day in fact, either as the acoustic Strawbs or as the full blown electric Strawbs.

In all there have been 31 musicians who could call themselves a Strawb but Dave Cousins, with his unique and emotional vocals, is the only person to be able to say he has stayed the course (apart from a brief hiatus in the early Eighties.) But some mighty fine musicians have passed through the ranks over the years. Female vocalists have included Sandy Denny and Sonja Kristina while those who have warmed the keyboard seat include three Wakeman’s (Rick, Adam and Oliver), Blue Weaver, John Hawkins and Don Airey.

Dave Lambert was there for an awful long time and of course John Ford and Richard Hudson are famous for being in the band and writing their best known hit single, the simply excruciating “Part Of The Union”. Fortunately Dave Cousins kept his hand firmly on the quill for most of the song writing.

In 2010 the BBC finally unlocked their vaults and released in entirety the music recorded by the Strawbs for the Beeb. Volume one is a compilation of songs collected from various radio shows over the years and a very fine selection it is too. But it is the second volume where things really step on the gas with three full ‘in concert’ recordings taped from 1971-1974, when perhaps the Strawbs were in their pomp.

The first CD features Rick Wakeman and you can hear why Yes were so glad to steal him away. Next up was Blue Weaver who, not to be outdone by his illustrious predecessor, really gives some welly to the keyboards on the second outing. Weaver had an illustrious career after leaving the Strawbs, first with Mott The Hoople and then later finding fame and a massive fortune working with the Bee Gees. Then came John Hawken who moved onto many different regions of rock music.

But more importantly for the listener is that the music throughout is of the very highest standard. The songwriting of Dave Cousins is a wonder to listen to, varying from soft lullabies like “Tears/Pavan” and the sumptuous “A Glimpse of Heaven” to the full blooded progressive rock of “Sheep”, which used to finish their live sets back in the day where the band could be mistaken for playing with the power and the passion of Deep Purple (apart from Dave Cousins distinctive vocals).

You also get two versions of “Hangman and the Papist”, one from 1971 and the other from 1973 (as is the nature of these collections, many songs are repeated due to their popularity in the set). The Strawbs would yearly add a little twist to each song to keep the enthusiasts happy. On this, perhaps one of Dave Cousins most famous songs, you can hear how the band have progressed.

The Cousins’ wonderful hit single “Lay Down” is played with much gusto and is far more representative of the Strawbs sound whilst still remaining commercial. To hear a marvelous rock band who have now become a worldwide institution, please dig out this album, turn it up and enjoy. (Just skip “Part of the Union”).

The Strawbs have had far too may band members to name them all, but song wise what you get stretched over the two CD’s is this:

CD1 (Paris Theatre, London 05/08/1971)

Hangman and the Papist

Martin Luther’s Dream

A Glimpse of Heaven

Witchwood

In Amongst The Roses

R.M.W.

Flower and The Young Man

Fingertips

The Shepherds Song

When You wore a Tulip

Sheep

CD 2 (Paris Theatre, London 25/03/1973)

New World

Tears/Pavan

Stormy Down

Hangman and the Papist

Benedictus

Heavy Disguise

Bovver Blues

The River/ Down by The Sea

Winter and Summer

Part Of The Union

Lay Down

CD 2 (Golders Green Hippodrome 11/04/1974)

New World

Lay Down

Autumn

Tears/Pavan

Just Love

Out in The Cold/Round and Round

Heroes and Heroines

The River /Down by The Sea/Lay a little Love on Me


Grey Lady Down: ‘Star-Crossed’

In 1998, following a breakup of the band for various reasons, the fabulous Grey Lady Down released a posthumous double live album titled “The Time Of Our Lives”. To all lovers of progressive rock the album was a delight, whilst the news of the band split was a serious disaster.

Fortunately sense was seen and after a chance meeting in a pub between original guitarist Julian Hunt and final keyboard wizard Mark Westworth, it was decided to put the old girl back together again. Vocalist Martin Wilson and bassist Sean Spear quickly jumped back on board, a new drummer was recruited in the shape of Phill Millichamp and the Grey Lady was up and running once more.

Grey Lady Down are shown rehearsing in this undated photo.

After a year gigging all over Europe the band retreated to the studio and returned with the finest progressive rock album of this millennium, “Star-Crossed” released in 2002. The album is so perfect that even the spaces between songs seem to have been judged to perfection.

All the tracks on this album are excellent, featuring plenty of great soloing from keyboards and guitar, plus the heaviest rhythm section that thumps every note into your foundations.

“Fading Faith” opens the album with some rippling piano, and then the band thunders in before leaving way for Martin Wilson’s lyrics. Wilson has always been a distinctive vocalist and singers always seem more involved when they actually write the words. Since the release of Grey Lady Down’s previous studio CD, “Fear” in 1997, Wilson’s voice had certainly taken on an extra presence and he is surely still the premier vocalist in today’s progressive rock scene.

“Fallen”, the central song on the album and lasting nearly fourteen wonderful minutes is a classic example of all that’s good in progressive rock; good story line and dramatic crescendos with an exciting dynamic conclusion.

12–string acoustic guitars begin and are evident throughout “Sands of Time”, which in an abbreviated version would make a superb single and this charming song is enhanced by some fine flute work by Hughie McMillan.

Always keeping the best till last, we come to the album’s tour de force “Cross Fire”. This one really rocks and would have been perfect for packed arenas if only the band had got what they deserved and had blazed a trail across the sky, packing out venues across the globe. It’s definitely the best and heaviest progressive metal laid down this side of early Deep Purple.

Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, guest guitarist Bernie Marsden (yes, he of Whitesnake fame) screams forth and leaves a skull-crushing solo to finish the song.

How sad that a band this good can slip through our old rock paws and fall away. Grey Lady down not becoming huge has always been a huge disappointment to me.

Album Rating: 5 Stars

Track List:

Fading Faith

Shattered

As The Brakes Fail

Fallen

New Age Tyranny

Sands Of Time

Truth

Crossfire

Grey Lady Down:

Sean Spear – bass

Martin Wilson – vocals

Mark Westworth - synthesizers, 12-string, mellotron

Julian Hunt – guitars

Phill Millichamp – drums


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

John Eddie: ‘Who the Hell is John Eddie?’

The Strawbs: ‘Live at the BBC Volume Two –In Concert’

Grey Lady Down: ‘Star-Crossed’