Posts Tagged ‘’70s Rock’

Gun – Gun

Real Gone have put Gun’s eponymous debut LP back on vinyl for the first time in three decades and its good to have it home on wax. The record’s been subjected to CD reissues several times and remains a solid slice of the UK hard rock canon. The band is most notable for being started by Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, a pair of brothers who’d wind their way through plenty of heavy hitters – going on work with Ginger Baker and Buddy Miles in later years, while also popping up in UK nuggets Rupert’s People and The Knack (“Time Waits for No One,” rockers, not “My Sharona”). For a short time Gun also counted YES’ John Anderson among the ranks, which might go some length to explain how the record also served as Roger Dean’s entry to cover art. The band’s sound embraced a towering post-psych, pre-prog aesthetic that drew in symphonics, dripping blues solos and a power-pounded rhythm section that keeps the energy pushed to the cliff.

The band released a follow-up, Gunsight, in 1969, but the album failed to capture audiences as they did with the often-covered single “Race With the Devil.” The band were branded as counterculturists by their label, CBS, but often found themselves at odds with that pitch, even working in a slightly anti-acid song on Gunsight. When the second album sunk, it pushed them away from the Gun name. The brothers formed Three Man Army, which would eventually become Ginger Baker’s Three Man Army after a few albums. This debut Gun album still stands as the pinnacle of their works, though. Tough, almost theatrically over the top in places, and willing to experiment with horn arrangements that weren’t necessarily the norm at the time. The label’s packed it up in a dedicated reproduction of the cover art and some limited red vinyl. There have been boots out there over the years, but this one’s sounding better than any unauthorized issue ever could. Its a grand reminder of when rock had no need to edit itself or even thing about reigning it in.



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Groundhogs – Blues Obituary

I’m all in for getting the Groundhogs’ catalog back on the shelf and it seems that Fire are rushing to the rescue these days. The UK label digs into the band’s ‘69 release, Blues Obituary. The album provides an essential bridge between the hogs’ early blues covers and the, wilder, freer works of their later albums. Scratching The Surface is populated by standards and classics. Its proof the band can play and deserves to be lifted up among the upper echelons of British Blues. With Blues Obituary, however, The Groundhogs propose that they’re something else – provocateurs, alchemists – rather than journeymen. The songs are still rooted in the groove of blues, but TS McPhee and the boys bury the old notions, as the title might attest, and dive further into freakout and burnt psychedelia than they’d ever dared before.

Though they’d certainly push further in the future. The album precedes their doubled down classics Thank Christ For The Bomb and Split, which could use the reissue treatment as well. If the stars align and Fire’s got it in them, hopefully they’ll see new light as well. Apparently, the shift from the blues was spurred on by good ol’ John Peel, which just makes Blues Obituary that much sweeter in retrospect. Any rec from John is a shove in the right direction. This is McPhee just finding his freakish muse, and, while there are definitely more essential albums both in their catalog and from the same year, this is a perfect fit for heads into Canned Heat, Yardbirds and John Mayall. The label does the release proud with a die cut sleeve and limited color, making this likely the definitive issue of the LP.



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Pat Thomas – “The Money Guys”

Told you it was a good time for the Bay this week, and here comes your next reason. Cool Ghouls have consistently stunned with their catalog of country-curled psych rock, with not a bummer in the bunch of their three albums. Now the band’s Pat Thomas is striking out on his own and tucking into the AOR shimmer of the ‘70s. He heralds his upcoming sophomore solo LP, I Ain’t Buyin’ It, with the golden glow of “The Money Guys.” The track hinges on the soft-focus horns and cellophane riffs that tied Chicago, The Doobies Bros. and Steely Dan together with late period Tim Buckley.

The track takes down economic inequality and does it while wearing boat shoes. It’s a ‘70s lounge jam critical of the man as played from the hired piano of venture capitalists’ own yachts. No one’s paying attention at the party so you might as well spite ‘em, eh? I’m eager to see where Pat takes the sound on this, too much of a plunge through ‘70s cheese could sink into pastiche, but if he keeps striking a balance between smooth strings and an acid tongue, then it could soar above easy listening.



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NRP: The Hot Dogs – Say What You Mean

The bases on reissues are regularly covered here in the Re-released into the Wild column, though I’ve found that while the steady stream of reissues picks up a lot of the great bits from the past (some I’ve been waiting for and some I’ve discovered through labels I love) there still remain a lot of records that are consigned to the purgatory of out of print status. This is especially frustrating given that the pressing plants are all too often packed out with garbage reissues of dollar bin titles looking to cash in on a nostalgia trip. So, with Necessary Repress I’m going to look at a few records I think absolutely deserve to work their way back to the stacks. Now, I know that the complex web of licenses, rights, and royalties are often what holds up a new issue, so I’m not holding my breath, just making my case.

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Mixtape: Only After Dark

Now I know that glam is well worn territory. You could spend a day just running down lists of essentials – each telling you that Marc Bolan’s glittery tears started it all and shuffling well worn cuts with a forgotten gem or two in the mix. I’m not going to even begin to claim to sweep up all the glam essentials, though there are certainly a few of the ten foot high stompers on here. This, is more about sweeping the listener up in a specific ’70s night: getting dumped, rallying with friends and losing yourself in the big, stupid beat until daybreak. Book-ended by a couple of power pop gems that act as sunset and sunrise, this is just a feelgood vision of hard drinking stupidity that slaps a smile on your face. Check out the tracklist and mix after the jump.

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Silverhead – Silverhead

It’s actually a bit perplexing that it has taken this long for Silverhead’s debut to attract a proper reissue. The band, often tied into glam’s evolution (they were fans of platforms, makeup and over the top costuming) actually land musically much closer to a breed of hard rock before that classic crunch found its way into the glam canon. They hew close to late Who, Beggars-era Stones and of course a touch of Bolan/Bowie, but then again who at the time wasn’t finding themselves transfixed to those two?

Their 1972 debut is packed with rockers that, while not necessarily fixated on hooks that would cement their status, definitely paved the way for bands that came in their wake. Though, without exception, “Ace Supreme” stands as a glam jam that never got its due. The song is filled with the larger-than-life persona of of the genre and it burns well past the 100 degree mark and rising. The band would, sadly, only release this album and a single follow-up before disbanding in 1974. Members would go on to fill out the ranks as session and touring members of Blondie and Robert Plant’s respective circuses and singer Michael Des Barres would actually garner more notoriety for a small recurring part on MacGuyver than he would as leader of the band.

Good to have this one back on vinyl after all the years, though. It’s a vital link in the glam chain and is worthy of a seat at the table for a discussion on the evolution of hard rock through the ’70s. The new edition comes courtesy of Vinilisssimo reproducing the long lost classic in its original form for the first time since ’73.


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Cromwell – At The Gallop

Ireland’s heavy rock scene has always been predominantly dominated by Thin Lizzy. The band broke out to such success that they’ve all but defined the country’s output during the ’70s. That’s not to say that the rest of the country suffered in silence while they rose to prominence. Lesser known entities like Taste broke way for other homegrown heroes, but unless you’ve been hanging in collector’s circles, Cromwell may well have flown outside of your frame of view until now. The record was self-released in 1975 and, while packed with some decent cuts, never really broke out to the kind of larger audience the band deserved.

The bulk of the record is packed with a polished brand of rock that swings with just the touch of twang and a gritty swagger that (rightly so) has earned some comparisons to Flamingo-era Flaming Groovies. They’ve got that same, Stones-indebted sneer, that never blossoms into a stadium-sized sound but still hooks the small club crowds into a feeling of rock n’ roll salvation. Despite finding themselves miles from a ranch of any sort, they’ve got a way of rolling in the wide open skies that seems like they may have had a copy of Let It Bleed on rotation for a fair amount of time during the recording of these songs. The new issue adds three bonus cuts which rise far above cutting room floor outtake quality. Always seems like there can’t be a wealth of rarities left out there, but On The Gallop, while not housing a soaring single, stands as an example of classic album rock.


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