July 28, 2011


All the bitter words have been already said but what’s got behind the verbal jive is the fact that Any Winehouse was an oustanding artist: a vocalist who knew her way about the nuances and not a simple belter and the one who pitched her Jewish soul to the black music to bring about a new wave of white soul singers. Rest in peace, sis.


Recently, Kenny Wayne Shepherd intrigued many by saying he’s gone for a supergroup vibe. He doesn’t name his new compadres, but we’re happy to announce that Shepherd’s bass-toting colleague is none other than Tony Franklin, most famous for his stints with THE FIRM – alongside Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers – and BLUE MURDER. Tony’s quit his work at Fender after eight years to return to active gigging – good for him!


In the last update it was mentioned Paul Rodgers is one of the singers on the forthcoming tribute to Paul McCartney. Now it’s been leaked that the cut the FREE warbler deliver is “Let Me Roll It” off “Band On The Run”. A tasty, bluesy choice.


1974’s “Hero & Heroine” is one of the best STRAWBS albums, the one where all the elements of the band’s style – art rock, folk, baroque, you name it – got solid gold. The fans are always eager to hear those songs but, perhaps, not too many ever hoped to witness the veterans perform their classic song cycle in its entirety. Yet that was exactly what happened in November 2010 in Canada and then in the UK. The Canadian recordings are out now as “Hero & Heroine In Ascendia” which features the core of Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk, who composed and played on the original LP, plus the ensemble’s old skin-kicker Tony Fernandez and a new addition to the ranks in the form of John Young whose keyboards previously augmented, among others, the sound of another prog horses, GREENSLADE and who’s brought his own “Aurora” to the STRAWBS’ table. So here’s how it looks like.

1. Prologue / Autumn:
Heroine’s Theme
Deep Summer’s Sleep
(Hold On To Me) The Winter Long
2. Sad Young Man
3. Just Love
4. Shine On Silver Sun
5. Hero And Heroine
6. Midnight Sun / Aurora
7. Out In The Cold
8. Round And Round
9. Lay A Little Light On Me
10. Hero’s Theme
11. Round And Round (reprise)


Meanwhile, one former STRAWBS member, Rick Wakeman, is putting out “Bootleg Box Vol. 1”, some previously unreleased concert tapes from his personal vaults. Advertised as “nicely packaged in true bootleg style” and being offered rather cheaply, it looks like another shaky package from Voiceprint who turned into Gonzo Media: cue the strange titles of some of the tracks – like “Instrumental”. What’s beyond doubt, though, is the quality of the Caped Crusader’s playing, so having these five discs in one’s collection isn’t a bad idea.

CD 1 – Live In Sweden 1980:

1. A Swedish Intro
2. Catherine Parr
3. No Earthly Connection Medley
4. Ann Boleyn
5. Happy Birthday K Krona
6. King Arthur Medley
7. Journey To The Center Of The Earth Medley

CD 2 – Live In Holland 1993:

1. Catherine Howard
2. Instrumental
3. Eleanor Rigby
4. Adam’s Entrance
5. King Arthur
6. Catherine Parr

CD 3 – Live At Kabooze Bar USA 1985:

1. Intro
2. Myths And Legends
3. King Arthur Part 2
4. Six Wives
5. Instrumental Medley
6. Catherine Howard
7. Six Wives
8. Journey Part 2
9. Art Three / The End
10. Outro

CD 4 – Live In Boston 1974:

1. Introduction
2. Horizon
3. Rachmaninoff Symphony 1
4. Catherine Parr
5. Catherine Howard
6. Anne Boleyn
7. Something Completely Different

CD 5 – Live In Boston 1974:

8. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth – Part 2


Strange, but folk rock musos aren’t prone to forming supergroups as they prefer to wander between bands, the minstrel-way. But now, here’s THE GATHERING BRITANNIA whose ranks hold such luminaries as Jerry Donahue, of FOTHERINGAY and FAIRPORT CONVENTION fame; LINDISFARNE’s Ray Jackson, famous for giving a mandolin wrap to Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” and not getting paid for it; Jack Kemp from STEELEYE SPAN; the original JETHRO TULLer Clive Bunker who also graced a PENTANGLE line-up; Doug Morter with CV including both ALBION BAND and MAGNA CARTA; and Jerry’s daughter Kristina Donahue who three times guested with FAIRPORTS on the Cropredy grounds. They have an album already, “The Bridge Between”, on ItsAboutMusic.com, with their old bands’ classics like “For Shame Of Doing Wrong”, “Lady Eleanor” and “Deep In The Darkest Night” sharing space with fresh originals. Quite a pedigree!

1. Fire On The Line
2. Lady Eleanor
3. Deep In The Darkest Night
4. Don’t Make Me Old
5. This Has Got To End
6. I Don’t Want
7. For Shame Of Doing Wrong
8. Rocking The Dog
9. Back On Your Own Again
10. False Hands (Across The Table)
11. King’s Cross Blues
12. Brampton To Roadhead


It was a plan laid before  Ronnie James Dio passed away but now the Niji Entertainment Group goes it without him. October 11th will see the release of “And Before Elf… There Were Elves” by ELVES, one of Ron’s early groups that mutated into ELF and got heavy. There’s a few bootlegs but this album will surely beat them in qualility and presentation, as the CD will be out in a lenticular cover that, under different angles, shows two alternating images: Dio from the first ELF album and a group shot from 1971, the year those songs, including the Chuck Berry and THE FACES covers, were committed to tape. The archives gates have opened.

1. You Shook Me
2. Stay With Me
3. Four Day Creep
4. Buckingham Blues
5. Wakeup Sunshine
6. Driftin’
7. Smile For Me Lady
8. You Felt The Same Way
9. Simple Man
10. Drown Me In The River
11. Cold Ramona
12. Little Queenie


While the West demonstrated resurrected interest in  URIAH HEEP , after this year’s release of “Into the Wild”, their popularity in (former) USSR has always been tremendous. And, since it’s been striking 23 years since “Live In Moscow”, time came for another recording from those reaches, not from Russia now but from Yerevan. Taped in October 2009, “Live In Armenia”, out on September 23rd in Europe and September 27th in North America, is a 2CD and DVD set and there’s a limited 2LP vinyl version planned. And here’s what’s inside:


1. Wake The Sleeper
2. Overload
3. Tears Of The World
4. Stealin’
5. Book Of Lies
6. Gypsy
7. Look At Yourself
8. What Kind Of God
9. Angels Walk With You
10. Shadow


11. July Morning
12. Easy Livin’
13. Sunrise
14. Sympathy
15. Lady In Black


1. Wake The Sleeper
2. Overload
3. Tears Of The World
4. Stealin’
5. Book Of Lies
6. Gypsy
7. Look At Yourself
8. What Kind Of God
9. Angels Walk With You
10. Shadow
11. July Morning
12. Easy Livin’
13. Sunrise
14. Sympathy
15. Lady In Black

July 14th, 2011


As it’s been mentioned here, DME dived headlong into lyrics writing. Those who need words can, therefore, get in touch. A taste of what’s going on is here.


Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the most famous rock opera (or, as some say bowing to “Tommy”, the most famous rock-based musical) “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and it was around that time that a lady by the name of Shannon Park started her personal crusade in order to shoot a documentary dedicated to the opus. By now, she still has to reach its creators – so those who can connect Shannon with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Time Rice (as this scribe did when it came to John Gustafson, who sang Simon Zealotes’s part), please, act on her behalf. But the most recent addition to the list of her interviewees is Ian Gillan, a Jesus of original cast. To keep track of what’s going on in the world of “Heaven On Their Minds” as the movie’s to be titled, go to its director’s blog, its Facebook page or follow Shannon’s tweets. Fingers crossed!


Not a household name, although many remember him fronting THE FAITH BROTHERS who peppered the UK charts with their singles and albums in the ’80s, Billy Franks is still very much active, recording and gigging and raising funds for his friend Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale. Always on the lookout for new ways to apply his talents too, Billy has written a book, “A Far Cry from Sunset” – an arresting read judging by its intro – and now has to encourage the publisher to issue it. In order to do so, Franks is gathering a tribe of friends who voice their support, and feeds back with a free compilation of his songs. Get it by sending a message to euphoria@billyfranks.com: you’ll receive the download link and further instructions. Act now!

More so, tune in to Billy’s site every Sunday at 6PM (BST) to watch and take part in his interactive show. It’s about time!


Recently, Geoff Downes launched a glorious diatribe against those YES’ fans who slagged his concert delivery with the band, the action unfurling on the veteran rockers’ forum. Some days later, the keyboardist had to tone down his responses to the criticism and admitted he might not be at the top of his game – and that’s without saying that some could have been angered with Oliver Wakeman‘s harsh ousting from YES in order to incorporate Downes for the new album, “Fly From Here” – but still pushed forward a curious argument: as a band member, he has to pay for their site‘s maintenance, and for the functionality of the blasted forum, too. Well, expenses for such a thing (and YES’ web home isn’t too technically advanced) can’t be over the top, hardly more than $100 per year, which makes $20 for each of the players. Is Geoff so poor now to cry about it? More so, doesn’t his money come from the ungrateful fans? Here hubris thrives…


Rick Wakeman might have stopped touring at large but there’s always something brewing in his kitchen. Now, there are gigs with , a classic catalogue reissue and… a collaboration with another Jon, ex-DEEP PURPLE’s Jon Lord. The two veteran keyboard wizards played the Sunflower Jam recently and wrote a piece together, “It’s Not As Big As It Was”, during the rehearsals. They liked the joint work so much so a whole album is on the cards. Not any day soon, but anyway.


Another keyboard player with a masterplan is Tom Brislin. Having worked with the likes of CAMEL, YES and RENAISSANCE, plus Meat Loaf to show it’s not all prog rock, Tom had a band of his own, SPIRALING, but now Brislin has decided to have a proper solo album, as all the great rock pianists do. The record, “Hurry Up And Smell The Roses” is pretty ready to hit the public this autumn, yet it’s all self-financed, and the composer doesn’t have a label to back him. So, in the old tradition, a subscription is taking place. Go here, pledge a sum from $50 to $5,000 and you’ll have a variety of bonuses, from mp3 of Tom’s single to tickets to his gigs, to him recording a song of your choice, to him writing a song for you or with you, up to being an executive producer and a life-long Brislin concerts-goer. A decent offer!


Strange it may seem with all the tribute albums mania, but
Paul McCartney has somehow been underserved on this front. The more impressive will be a forthcoming disc where the creme de la creme of classic rockers bow before Macca. Backed by his own touring band, Paul’s evergreens are to be delivered by such names as Paul Rodgers, B. B. King, Billy Joel and Garth Brooks, plus THE CURE with James McCartney, the Beatle’s son, guesting on guitar. As of the actual context, KISS (surely, not backed by anyone) have laid down “Venus And Mars/Rock Show”. Appetite’s whetted.


A blues band with pop sensibility, BAD COMPANY remain a massive concert draw. In April 2010 they rocked London, and it was there and then that their “Live At Wembley” album have been recorded. Out on June 28th on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray, the content differs signficantly from both their latest “Hard Rock Live” and "Merchants Of Cool" stage documents. Nice to have but why not release something by the original quartet, too?

1. Can’t Get Enough
2. Honey Child
3. Run With The Pack
4. Burnin’ Sky (video only)
5. Young Blood
6. Seagull
7. Gone, Gone, Gone
8. Electric Land
9. Simple Man
10. Feel Like Makin’ Love
11. Shooting Star
12. Rock And Roll Fantasy
13. Movin’ On
14. Ready For Love
15. Bad Company
16. Deal With The Preacher


In the past three decades, Sly Stone cut a miserable figure. Mental problems, not attending his own concerts and erratic behavior prevented him from recording and his fans from hoping he’d ever make it to a studio again. But thanks to his most faithful fans – the story’s been told in details in “Mojo” mag – he made it! August 16th will see the veteran’s first new album since 1982… but not exactly with new songs. It’s rather fresh takes on Sly’s classics, and three previously unlrelased cuts, with “I’m Back! Family & Friends” featuring heavy guests including the unexpected members of HEART and THE DOORS. Here’s how it looks like:

1. Dance To The Music feat. Ray Manzarek
2. Everyday People feat. Ann Wilson
3. Family Affair
4. Stand! feat. Carmine Appice
5. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) feat. Johnny Winter
6. (I Want To Take You) Higher feat. Jeff Beck
7. Hot Fun In The Summertime feat. Bootsy Collins
8. Dance To The Music (extended mix)
9. Plain Jane
10. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
11. Get Away


It’s been said LED ZEP mastermind has been working on a new album for some time but what emerged to the date was some instrumental tracks featured in the “It Might Get Loud” documentary. But it looks like Jimmy Page is ready to take on the world again, a sign of things to come possibly being an opening of the guitarist’s new site. It takes registration to get there to marvel at somehow shallow content yet there’s no doubt it’ll grow. Now, on to the music, Jim?

July 28, 2011

Category(s): News

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