Linda Hoyle and her first album in 44 years

Linda Hoyle — The Fetch
★★☆

Do you remember the band Affinity and their only album released in the 1970?

Linda Hoyle sang on that wonderful album, and their music sounds like The Zombies stepping out from their sunshine psychedelia towards mellow, jazzy prog. The band sadly disbanded while they were recording their second album, leaving behind such classics as their 7-minute wonderland visit called Night Flight and their 11-minute cover of All Along The Watchtower.

Below is their cover of Eli’s Coming (originally sung by Laura Nyro and covered by Three Dogs Night)

One year later in 1971 Linda released an album of her own called Pieces of Me. This album is a very personal exclamation, in which Linda unleashes her strong feminist side. Each song is a statement, such as Hymn to Valerie Solanas especially (read more about Valerie Solanas and her relationship to Andy Warhol here) and once I discovered the album, it immediately became one of my favourites. Compared to the sweet prog Affinity had, this album has some unusually rough and heavy material. Black Crow is paying tribute to Beatles‘ Hey Bulldog and the featured song of the album Pieces of Me is one of the heaviest pieces (pieces of me are so heavy!) yet released at the time, while still preserving its somewhat jazzy structure.

The opening track to Linda‘s solo album, Backlash Blues:

Now, that was to remain Linda‘s last release for 44 years, which is a real shame, since she has such a marvellous voice, said by some to be a crossover of Grace Slick‘s grace with the power of Janis Joplin.

But then!

Suddenly, while I was discussing Affinity on one of the prog forums and bringing up Linda Hoyle‘s solo production, I couldn’t help but notice that a new album was released — in August of 2015, just one month ago!

That was an even stronger surprise than seeing Robert Plant perform on stage in Pori Jazz. I had to immediately have a listen to the album, and so I did. Even if just for a while, it felt like I was living in the 70’s! It was not just a fantasy anymore — all the music that was made then, all the artists, they suddenly became a reality. And I was a part of that reality.

The opening track The Fetch from the album The Fetch:

Let’s not bring up that Linda‘s new album The Fetch wasn’t really that good. Most of the songs were not interesting musically, rather resembling Christmas carols concentrating on the quality her voice — which had lost quite a bit of its shine due to the years. Yet there were a couple of very good, proggy songs, and the voice was good enough to clearly hear that it’s still her singing, Linda Hoyle, in person, true to her style! Some of the lyrics also had some of that feminism left in them (even the word “fuck” was heard, quite abruptly so amidst a relaxing, jazzy piece), and the first song of the album is pleasingly different from all the prog I’ve heard until now. I just hoped that the whole album would be just like its first piece, however this album gave me more than just music. It gave me new feelings, just like Hoyle‘s first solo album. “Affinity fans spanning generations will surely be overjoyed. It’s as if Linda never left…”, Tom Semioli writes in Huffington Post.

An interview with Linda Hoyle promoting her new album:

What is more, Linda states in the interview above that she’s writing “a lot, so much that I have to restrain myself” and that she’s already working on her next album. This is surely happy news for anyone respecting her style.

I’m considering writing her a fan letter, there is a whole lot that I would like to convey. I also think I’ll drop by the store today and see if I can find either a copy of The Fetch or Pieces of MeAffinity will also do.

p.s.

By the way, do you have any idea who is responsible for the album cover art of The Fetch? That’s right, it’s Roger Dean himself! The person who’s famous for painting the surreal album covers of Yes and a great deal of other prog bands. Just another little thing that was done right for Linda‘s album.

Mahavishnu Orchestra Rap Cover

I was listening to some rap the other day (I was feeling pretty experimental), when I came across this cover of You Know You Know by Blahzay Blahzay on their album Blah Blah Blah. This was the first track of the album, so it hit me really hard — I couldn’t believe what I’m hearing.

Have a listen, have a good laugh!

Original:

My feelings are mixed. Take the background away, and you will be left with nothing. On the other hand, you can see this as a tribute, and perhaps I would be listening to more rap if there were more stuff like this around. Sadly, other songs by Blahzay Blahzay don’t have any backing melodies that I would recognise.

One of my friends has a hobby of searching for melodies that got sampled for hip-hop songs. I think now I can understand the joy of doing that.

Electric Light Orchestra – Electric Light Orchestra (album)

Electric Light OrchestraElectric Light Orchestra (album)
★★★★

(known as No Answer in US)

Somehow I’ve been avoiding ELO albums until now, and I’ve been missing a lot! Their first record is full of creative and experimental pieces that are at least as good as any of their popular stuff. As an album it was somewhat rough, but a pleasantly different experience that expanded my understanding of music.

Even though I was already familiar with the 1st Movement instrumental, which I hold in high regard, my favourite piece ended up being the classical-sounding Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644). Enjoy!

Summer Wine

Hello everyone! It’s been a long summer… And lots of stuff happened in it!

For once I was at two music festivals—Pori Jazz & Flow Festival. I discovered lots of new stuff. Yes, new music. Music that was pretty much as good as in the seventies. The surreal Korvat Auki Ensemble, the legendary Robert Plant who continues to keep his bar high, The Stanley Clarke Band that had an extraordinary young drummer, and deep down from the Republic of Mali I enjoyed the Songhoy Blues. Just as I thought, there’s still lots of cool stuff around, it’s just that it got back to where it came from—underground.

But more on that later. This post is concentrated on one of the people who’s been following me since the days of Grooveshark (oh, it seems like ages ago… on the other hand, it seems like Grooveshark was still online yesterday…). Presenting you, the one and only—Avigail!

Together we’ve been discovering great music and she was practically watching over me so that I won’t take music too seriously and go too far into that deep, deep stuff… Because it’s a quicksand that sucks you in, and suddenly you don’t know where you stand…

Recently she was doing a podcast at her friend’s website. And it was great! Avi thanked me for the musical influences, and I was thanking her back—there’s no better feeling for a music enthusiast than to see someone taking a liking to your suggestions! Although I bet this feeling is same for everyone.

The podcast is in Russian, yet it doesn’t really matter even if you don’t understand a word. I still suggest you take a listen (of course I do! After all this build-up, I wouldn’t really say: “nah, don’t really go there, it’s not worth it”). Alternatively, you can just browse the youtube links provided on the page. Perchance you’ll notice some of the songs that have appeared in this blog, or even more than half of them, in case you’ve been listening to my broadcast on Grooveshark before!

http://www.komuza.net/2015/07/21/гимн-недели-от-вудстока-до-сфинкса/

Have fun listening and see you soon!

Cleves — The Cleves [1970]

ClevesThe Cleves [1970]
★★★☆

Been a while since I last wrote a review. This album is claimed to be prog rock by multiple sources (Youtube & Allmusic), and when I couldn’t find the album on progarchives.com, the mother of all progsites, my interest grew. Moreover, the band turned out to be Australian, and there was nothing Australian that could come to my mind except for AC/DC. That’s when I knew I had to fix this gap in my knowledge, and fix it quick.

As it turned out, the only album by Cleves wasn’t anywhere near prog, although they obviously have a certain twist in how they groove. The Cleves is a pleasant mix of psychedelic rock and heavy-going solo jams, resembling somewhat the style of Argent. The steady beat on the background seems to unite the whole album. A nice listen, but nothing too special.

Below is the third song from their LP, Keep Trying, which I consider to be the highlight of the album.

The Beatles—Help! |–| versus |–| The Who—Doctor Doctor

My dad can’t see the similitude between these two songs, whereas I think the resemblance is obvious.
What is your opinion?

The BeatlesHelp! (1965), from their Help! soundtrack album

The WhoDoctor, Doctor (1967),
from the b-side of their single “Pictures of Lily“/”Doctor, Doctor

Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 2 — The Dark Book of Love

Over half of all songs composed in this world are about love. But love… is not only bright and sunny. This volume explores some darker, barbaric aspects of love — closely related to insanity, death, or filled with some strange fetishes. Be a cat or a dog, make yourself a sandwich and enjoy the chill running down your spine from this whole lotta love.

The Dark Book of LoveUnnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 2 — The Dark Book of Love

  1. Led Zeppelin — Whole Lotta Love
  2. The Stooges — I Wanna Be Your Dog
  3. Blue Cheer — Sandwich
  4. Pink Fairies — Do It
  5. Sir Lord Baltimore — Helium Head (I Got Love)
  6. Atomic Rooster — And So To Bed
  7. Gong — Witch’s Song / I Am Your Pussy
  8. The Beatles — I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  9. Morgen — Love
  10. Jericho — Kill Me With Your Love

 Play time: 59min 32s

 

Next release: Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 3 — Single Edition

Previous release: Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 1 — Distant Melodies

Some interesting White Rabbit versions and covers

We are all familiar with Jefferson Airplane‘s psychedelic rendition of Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit. And there are many interesting covers of it around—almost as many as for BeatlesYesterday. In this post, I’ve picked a list of most interesting ones, loosely ordered from the 60’s to today, 16 videos to take up all of your free time. So get ready for an ultimate psychedelic ride.

For starters, here is an alternate TV version of White Rabbit performed by Jefferson Airplane, with a pleasing background of psychedelic colours and Grace Slick looking pretty as ever.

 

And, well, the Woodstock version deserves to be included too. The voice here is simply too magnificent.

 

Technically, the JA version is not the original one, since The Great Society had already been touring with White Rabbit, but they never released any studio albums. Grace Slick was part of their team though, and she’s singing in this live version too, which is perhaps the most psychedelic one.

 

A smooth, jazzy instrumental by George Benson and The California Dreamers, based rather on the Great Society version than on the Jefferson Airplane one.

 

A french White Rabbit cover, titled La Justice. I wonder how accurate the translation of the lyrics is, at least certain key words like “logic” and “proportion” are there. The quality of the recording could have been better, but I find that the french language fits this song really well.

 

A very gentle 60’s cover by the Flying Karpets.

 

A not so gentle 10-minute long acid punk version by The Last Word, which claims the title of the creepiest version with ease.

 

A decent cover by another 80’s punk band Mo-Dettes.

 

A somewhat crude version by a 90’s band Shrine from their album Psycha—but they’ve added a personal touch to it.

 

A 90’s house remix version. Usually not my type of music, but I found myself enjoying this one.

 

Now what’s this style of music, I don’t even know. Blue Man Group, something electronic, yet experimental and done with enthusiasm. Has lots of new components added to the song, and they work.

 

This one by Shakespears Sister sounded like rubbish first, but it ended up pretty interesting. Moreover, I’ve never seen this particular animation, which I thought was really nice.

 

A perhaps somewhat musically lacking, yet a very distinct version by Enon.

 

A recent 2009 live cover by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals. Nothing extraordinarily different from the JA version, but an accurate replica.
Here’s another link to their studio version.

 

This one is a surprisingly well made web cam recording of the song. Couldn’t have guessed it’d be this good.

 

And finally something completely different to release all the built-up tension. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

 

Edit: A bonus nr. 17 for those who can handle speed metal—a cover by Sanctuary: >> Sanctuary — White Rabbit
Think some other essential cover is missing? Message me in the comments!

Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 1 — Distant Melodies

So Grooveshark was shut down two weeks ago on Friday, forever. Together with its playlists, databases and broadcasts. I still haven’t completely gotten over it. Yet my knowledge and passion for music remains—so I thought I might employ a similar tactic to Rich Aftersabbath and release my own one hour mixes of songs from different artists. Rich has done a great job of compiling rare heavy psych, yet it doesn’t always need to be rare, heavy or psych, does it?

This first release is called Distant Melodies and consists solely of progressive material. For now, the medium I’m using is Youtube, perhaps later I’ll change to something better. I’ve tried to choose best quality I could find. Enjoy!

Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 1 — Distant Melodies

Track listing:

  1. Weed — My Dream
  2. Yes — Then
  3. Starcastle — Diamond Song (Deep is the Light)
  4. Julian Jay Savarin — Child of the Night
  5. Emerson Lake & Palmer — In the Beginning
  6. Jade Warrior — Lady of the Lake
  7. Camel — La Princesse Perdue
  8. Greenslade — Sundance
  9. Caravan — But Where for the Caravan Would I?
  10. Premiata Forneria Marconi — Impressioni di Settembre

Play time: 1h 3min 34s

If you have a moment to spare, I would love to hear your thoughts on this project. Thanks!

 

Next release: Unnkerr Swéghléoðras: Part 2 — The Dark Book of Love

Queen — Queen (album)

QueenQueen (album)
★★★

Queen sure are a difficult band. For every part on their debut album that I loved, there was a part that I hated. A ratio of one poor song to one great piece is not a bad one, you might think, but I would have been relieved if that were the case, since the instances of enjoyment and disgust occurred multiple times within each of the songs. How am I supposed to deal with that? Doing All Right and Liar are both examples of pieces that start off the wrong foot, but correct their stance as they move on. Also, it is easy to understand how Queen got their attention and fame; their sound is unique and the musical skills of the band’s members are unquestionable, even though those two traits combined do not necessarily add up to good music.