Saturday, November 7, 1970

John Mayall - The Turning Point

John Mayall
The Turning Point
Vinyl Stereo LP
Polydor 24-4004

1. The Laws Must Change
2. Saw Mill Gulch Road
3. I'm Gonna Fight For You J.B.
4. So Hard to Share
(B1) 5. California
6. Thoughts About Roxanne
7. Room to Move

I'd known "Room to Move" for a while; nevertheless, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I put this on the turntable. It turned out to be an almost entirely acoustic sort of "lite blues" with a few surprises. The saxophones add an almost jazz-like dimension to the already surreal, subdued blues sound. The overall result is a very nice, easy, crisp, different sound that's very much worth investigating. It certainly turned out to be exactly what I was looking for this sleepy evening.

Here are John Mayall's nicely accurate words on the back cover:

"The time is right for a new direction in blues music. Having decided to dispense with heavy lead guitar and drums, usually a 'must' for blues groups today, I set about forming a new band which would be able to explore seldom-used areas within the framework of low volume music. This album is the result of this experiment and it was recorded live at the Fillmore East Theater, New York after only four weeks experience of each other's playing."

—John Mayall - July 1969

Wednesday, November 4, 1970

Kaleidoscope (UK) - Faintly Blowing

Faintly Blowing
Compact Disc
Repertoire REPUK 1047

1. Faintly Blowing
2. Poem
3. Snapdragon
4. A Story From Tom Bitz
5. (Love Song) For Annie
6. If You So Wish
7. Opinion
8. Bless the Executioner
9. Black Fjord
10. The Feathered Tiger
11. I'll Kiss You Once
12. Music
*~*~*bonus tracks*~*~*
13. Do it Again For Jeffrey
14. Poem (mono single)
15. Balloon
16. If You So Wish (mono single)
17. Let the World Wash In
18. Mediaeval Masquerade

The "toytown" sound demonstrated on Kaleidoscope's first album has grown up. Be warned, though, that, while the songwriting has indubitably matured, the music seems to lack the catchiness of that of Tangerine Dream. Matter of fact, a couple of songs on here can be downright dissonant at times—especially the album closer, "Music", which I sometimes think could make today's goth types weep.

Monday, November 2, 1970

Synanthesia - Synanthesia

Synanthesia (self-titled)
Compact Disc
Sunbeam Records 5007

1. Minerva
2. Peek Strangely and Worried Evening
3. Morpheus
4. Trafalgar Square
5. Fates
6. The Tale of the Spider and the Fly
7. Vesta
8. Rolling and Tumbling
9. Mnemosyne
10. Aurora
11. Just as the Curtain Finally Falls
12. Shifting Sands (bonus)

Described on the back cover as "a beguiling mixture of folk, jazz and psychedelia." Shall give this another listen later today.

(later today:) Sounds about right. Closest, I think, to medium-medium-soft jazz. There is at least one song with a nice, dissonant sax that would be quite effective in pissing off my mother. Narrow-minded bitch gets on my nerves sometimes.

Sunday, November 1, 1970

The Dragons - BFI

The Dragons
Compact Disc
Ninja Tune ZENCD135

1. Cosmosis
2. Food For My Soul
3. Amplified Emotion
4. Sandman
5. On the Wall
6. Are You There?
7. Sunset Scenery
8. Mercy Call
9. Pop's Bag
10. Big Mike Requiem
11. Your Way Too

This is one of the more interesting records I've played the last few days. It claims to have been recorded in 1969 and not released until 2007. It sounds much more modern than 1969..... It's kind of a bizarre combination of jazz, psych, fusion?, and a couple other genres that fail to occur to me just now. Very different, and very much worth listening to.

Family - Family Entertainment

Family Entertainment
Compact Disc
PUC 702

1. The Weaver's Answer
2. Observations From a Hill
3. Hung Up Down
4. Summer '67
5. How-Hi-the-Li
6. Second Generation Woman
7. From Past Archives
8. Dim
9. Processions
10. Face in the Cloud
11. Emotions

I had put this on my "physical wish list" a long time ago and didn't hear it for a long time. Finally got it this past holiday, and played it yesterday for the first time in a long time, and I was quite surprised at how GOOD this album is. The band's music had very much "matured" since their first album (which is very good in its own right), become smoother and more polished. Describing the actual music of Family is something else entirely.......just keep in mind that they're an excellent, eclectic band in 1969, and you should be groovy.

Gandalf - Gandalf

Gandalf (self-titled)
Compact Disc
Sundazed 6152

1. Golden Earrings
2. Hang on to a Dream
3. Never Too Far
4. Scarlet Ribbons
5. You Upset the Grace of Living
6. Can You Travel in the Dark Alone
7. Nature Boy
8. Tiffany Rings
9. Me About You
10. I Watch the Moon

One of the psych-pop classic albums. Great, original sound, with melodic, kind of atmospheric vocals and a dominant Hammond B3 organ—a treat for the ears. According to the liner notes, it wasn't really intended that way, but it sounds great nonetheless, from their takes on Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream" and "Never Too Far" to the remarkable electric-sitar-laden original "Can You Travel in the Dark Alone."

Principal Edwards Magic Theatre - Soundtrack

Principal Edwards Magic Theatre
Compact Disc
Cherry Red CDM RED 306

1. Enigmatic Insomniac Machine
2. Sacrifice
3. The Death of Don Quixote
4. Third Sonnet to Sundry Notes of Music
5. To a Broken Guitar
6. Pinky: A Mystery Cycle
7. Ballad (Of the Big Girl Now and the Mere Boy) (bonus)
8. Lament for the Earth (bonus)

Sort of a progressive folk-jazz. Think Fairport Convention meets McDonald and Giles.

Mighty Baby - Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby (self-titled)
Compact Disc
Big Beat CDWIKD 120

1. Egyptian Tomb
2. A Friend You Know But Never See
3. I've Been Down So Long
4. Same Way From the Sun
5. House Without Windows
6. Trials of a City
7. I'm From the Country
8. At a Point Between Fate and Destiny
*~*~*bonus tracks*~*~*
9. Only Dreaming
10. Dustbin Full of Rubbish
11. Understanding Love
12. Favourite Days
13. A Saying For Today

In the opening of this compact disc's liner notes, Mighty Baby is described as "Britain's answer to the Grateful Dead". This (to me, anyway; see comments) is basically accurate. They may have had slightly better production than the early Dead records, and of course a slightly more British sense of melody, but, yeah, the Grateful Dead comparison is, to me, fairly apt.