Michael Head, former frontman of the Pale Fountains
and current co-leader along with his brother John -- who is also a
Strand -- of Brit pop outfit Shack, turns in a stellar chamber pop
performance with Magical World of the Strands.
Head, who is no stranger to either classy, baroque pop or
neo-psychedelia, has composed an album of gorgeously illustrated songs
that are lushly orchestrated by a standard rock quartet augmented by a
flutist (Leslie Roberts)
and a string quartet. The result is an album that, while little known,
is a classic, a masterpiece of modern chamber pop. Released in 1997,
this disc walks the line between the deep, darkly expressionistic
chamber work of the Tindersticks and the airy, classically augmented
breeze-laden pop of Nick Drake
à la Five Leaves Left -- long before the millennial obsession with the
latter's work was revived due to a Volkswagen commercial. The disc's
first two tracks, "Queen Matilda" and "Something Like You," are striking
in their seductive, velvety tenderness. The ghost of Drake is
everywhere, floating in and hovering above the strings. In the refrain
to "Something Like You," one can even hear his voice in Head's phrasing.
The difference, however, is in how Head composes lyrics: he's more
economical; he merely illustrates the essence of what he's
communicating--be it image or emotion--and leaves the listener to fill
in the blanks. The other huge influence on Head and the Strands is Pentangle,
with slippery modal folk and rock.
This music could have been recorded
in the early '70s, but what it conveys is timeless. What reverberates
through this album on every track is musical savvy. It's in the lyrical
reverie of "X Hits the Spot," with jangling guitars and subtle
backbeat. "It's Harvest Time," recalls Dave Cousins
and Strawbs with open, ringing 12 strings, and piping, echoplexed
flute. The electric-acoustic guitar tradeoff between Michael and James
in "Fontilan," contains a melancholic theme inside a spacious mix
colored by swelling strings. Throughout this gem showcases compositional
class and an aesthetic sensibility at once artful yet completely
accessible to anyone with an interest in well-written, -played,
-produced, and -sung pop. (allmusic.com)
A wonderful album full of soft psychedelia. Great!
Frank FlacLimited till March, 25th, 2017
From Southern California, this obscure five-man,
one-woman pop-folk-rock group issued a self-titled album on Liberty in
1966. From the sounds of things (and the look of the group on the
cover), they were a pop-oriented folk group hastily adapting to the
folk-rock craze, with their white bread folk roots showing far more
strongly than any newfound rock sensibilities. In this sense, as well as
the all-over-the-place repertoire of the LP, they recalled the We Five,
although they weren't as good and there was a glossier Los Angeles
sheen to the production. The harmonies and their bent toward bittersweet
melodies also bore some similarities to the Mamas & the Papas and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, though they weren't even remotely the same league as the Mamas & the Papas and not nearly as rock-oriented as the Peanut Butter Conspiracy.
Their best song, the original "Rising Sun," had an uncharacteristically
gutsy fuzz guitar line, played as if the guitarist was afraid of
burning fingers if the tone was sustained too long, and saw some
The Deep Six
started out as a San Diego folk trio, evolving into a bigger
folk-rockish band after they became the house band for the La Mesa folk
club the Land of Oden, co-owned by their co-manager, Ken Mansfield. "Rising Sun," according to the liner notes to the expanded Rev-Ola CD reissue of Deep Six, included a young Jim Messina
on guitar, and made number three in Los Angeles, where the group based
themselves for part of their short career. Much of the music on their
records (which, in addition to the LP, included a few non-LP singles)
was played by top Hollywood session musicians, including Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, Mike Deasy, Al Casey, Larry Knechtel, Ray Pohlman, and Barney Kessel; David Gates
contributed some arranging. Neither the album nor the follow-up singles
to "Rising Sun" sold well, and the group disbanded shortly afterward,
with Barry Kane (who had been in the New Christy Minstrels and a duo with Barry McGuire) joining the lineup as the replacement for original member Dave Gray near the end.
After Deep Six, Ken Mansfield went on to work for Capitol Records and served as the first U.S. manager of Apple Records. Bassist Dann Lottermoser joined Stone Country, which did one album for RCA, and included noted country-rock singe/-songwriter Steve Young. The Deep Six album was reissued on CD, with all five of their non-LP songs added as bonus tracks, by Rev-Ola in 2003.(allmusic.com)
Frank Flac Limited time! March, 25th, 2017
Hooterization is a single-disc collection featuring all seven of the Hooters' charting singles, plus neglected album tracks and other obscurities. Since the bulk of the Hooters' best material -- "And We Danced," "Day by Day," "All You Zombies," and "Where Do the Children Go" -- is on their Nervous Night debut album, Hooterization is useful only for those collectors and listeners who want a compilation for the sake of having a compilation. Hooterization is too long and filled with too many bland tracks to make a consistently entertaining listen, which is not the case of Nervous Night, since it is shorter and contains all the hits.
Certainly, Hooterization does a fine job of selecting the highlights from One Way Home and Zig Zag, but most casual fans will be satisfied with Nervous Night.(allmusic.com)
I can't agre with the review of allmusic. First ''Nervous Night'' don't contains all the charting hits of the band. Second is that on the collection here are some very interesting songs that are not on Nervous Night and are in my opinion no fillers. I have a lot of music and a lot of collections. Sure here are no ''obscure, deep from the vault, never released songs'' on it but good pop songs, an interesting live version of Lucy in the sky with diamonds and a live version of ''Time after time'' which is written originally by Hooters members. All in all a very good collection of the Hooters best work. If you like the Folk Pop/Pop Folk of the Hooters, here they are.
Frank FlacLimited Time March, 25, 2017
The Marbles are well known to serious Bee Gees fans for covering a number of Bee Gees compositions, as well as being produced by Barry Gibb. Those expecting a sort of Bee Gees Jr., however, will be sorely disappointed by the Marbles' sole, eponymous album, even if five of the 12 tracks were penned by the Brothers Gibb. It's a far more blustery, orchestral brand of pop/rock than the relatively tender one mastered by the Bee Gees in the late '60s, even when they're doing some songs the Bee Gees themselves recorded back then (like "I Can't See Nobody" and "To Love Somebody").
Most blustery of all is Graham Bonnet's overbearing voice, which sounds a bit like a cross between Tom Jones and the Righteous Brothers,
painting mental pictures of some tuxedoed guy sweating it out on the
northern England cabaret circuit, his bulging neck muscles turning red
with the effort. The pop and soul covers -- including "A House Is Not a
Home," "Storybook Children," and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" -- are
rendered schmaltzy by both the vocals and arrangements.
few attempts at their own songwriting (numbering only three) are better
though not great, convincingly emulating the bittersweet aspects of the
early Bee Gees, though sometimes with even more ornate orchestration than the Bee Gees employed. It's of most interest to Bee Gees fans, though, for the inclusion of three Brothers Gibb compositions the Bee Gees
didn't record at the time on their own records: "Only One Woman" (a
number five British hit), "The Walls Fell Down," and "By the Light of a
Burning Candle." They're characteristic of the Bee Gees' late-'60s style, but given such a bombastic treatment that you can't help wishing that the Bee Gees
had done them instead. The 2003 CD reissue on Repertoire adds six bonus
tracks, including mono single versions of four tracks from the LP and
two 1969 B-sides.
Graham Bonnet shows here also what a great singer he is. The album is a mix of pop, soul, Bee Gees style and Righteous Brothers influences. It's like the reviewer describes the album. If you like this kind of music you are right here. To me it's a three stars out of five album.