Steve York always had a great story to tell – a historical background to a photo or a video with him in – and it didn’t feel too surprising, given the bassist extraordinaire graced many a significant ensemble with his sonic presence. Sonic – because York prefered to stay in the back (the background, you see?) and be heard rather than seen. That’s why a lot of rock connoisseurs may not realize it was Steve who laid down bottom end on such remarkable albums as Marianne Faithfull’s “Broken English” for which he co-penned a few numbers, or EAST OF EDEN’s “Mercator Projected” that featured not only his four strings but also his harmonica.
Perhaps, this release is a tad too late to the party, yet in times like ours there’s no reason to complain that Dutch premier proggers FOCUS were formed in 1969 but they celebrate the band’s half-century anniversary in 2020. No reason – because getting a reasonably priced box set – titled “50 Years Anthology 1970-1976” – comprising nine CDs and two DVDs feels really special. On the CDs are the ensembles first five albums, newly remastered and augmented with bonus tracks of which many haven’t seen the light of day before, and “At The Rainbow” concert document and previously unissued live recordings, plus the “Ship Of Memories” compilation of rarities – although 1977’s “Focus Con Proby” was left off to remain the only LP from the group’s first lifespan that won’t be included here (one would suspect the decision had something to do with guitarist Jan Akkerman and drummer Pierre van der Linden absent from the Thijs Van Leer-led line-up). Still, the plethora of visual delights on DVDs must compensate for the omission.
It’s been half a century since CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL released their classic “Cosmo’s Factory” that remains fans’ favorite even today, which is why the band’s leader John Fogerty decided to call the video series that he and his kids – sons Shane and Tyler and daughter Kelsy – recorded at their home studio and gradually uploaded to the veteran’s YouTube channel“Fogerty’s Factory” and, later, to lend this title to his new album. There was a digital-only EP issued on John’s 75th birthday, May 28th, when the Fogerty family shot “Centerfield” at an empty Dodger Stadium, but now there’s a full-length album to see the light of day in physical form on November 20th (with vinyl to follow on January 15th). It doesn’t include a lot of CCR classics, yet cuts from the artist’s solo offerings and a Bill Withers cover compensate for that.
It’s been more than seven years since the great Trevor Bolder passed away, and all this time a rumor circulated of his solo album being prepared for release. In fact, Trev and I talked about it a decade earlier, and that’s what he said to me back in 2003: “I started one, but I’ve not finished it. I’ve been doing it for ages, I’ve been too busy. I started a solo album with taking all the demos that I’d done of all the songs I’d ever written to make them into a solo album by doing them as I’d written them, putting out the original demos but making them sound a lot better than they were, cause they were just demos with me singing and playing everything except for the drums. Of which I got seven songs that I never got time to finish, but next year I’m going to finish it.”
It’s been a long time since British heavyweights STRAY last time issued a studio album – "Valhalla" appeared way back in 2008, and there was only a concert set put out afterwards, "Live In Japan 2013" – yet they’re working on a set of new songs now, aiming for 2021 release. Meanwhile, October 23rd is when another live record will see the light of day. “Roll Up! Roll Up!” comprises ten cuts laid down at “The 100 Club” in London on November29th, 2019 – but there’s an interesting story behind it.