Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Martin Newell - The Greatest Living Englishman (Humbug Records 1996 Limited Edition, Reissue, Bonus Tracks)
As it was produced by XTC's Andy Partridge (who also plays most of the drums), this was Newell's first project to receive any semblance of mainstream media attention in the U.S. What he was presenting, however, differed little in essence from what he'd been doing since Cleaners From Venus started in the early '80s: tuneful pop with heart and clever lyrics that could be joyfully optimistic, whimsically satirical, or dourly cynical. In fact, a few of these songs are remakes of things that Newell had done in the Cleaners days, such as "Home Counties Boy" and the very Kinks-like "A Street Called Prospect" and "Christmas in Suburbia."
The production was more in line with state-of-the-art standards, but really the results were no worse or better than on Newell's '80s recordings: less idiosyncratically homespun, perhaps, but more accessible to a wider audience. Playing, as always, like a snapshot of English life, it's the most suitable introduction to Newell's work, not in the least because it's one of his few albums that's reasonably obtainable without a major effort.(allmusic.com)
Very strong work by Martin Newell ( and Andy Partridge). Can there be a better producer as Partridge for an artist like Martin Newell? I think that was the best choice for this project and it's audible in every song here. Great pop music.
SB1 Flac p1 & Flac p2 mp3@320
p.s.: In case you wonder why the two bonus tracks don't be in the tracklist on the disc (only on the back cover) i haven't a clue but it's the right disc.
Sixties German Beat/Pop/Psychedelic: The Blackbirds - No Destination 1968 (2005 Longhair Records) Flac & mp3@320
One of the few '60s Belgian rock groups of note, the Blackbirds were among the most curious of the numerous sullen bands to emerge from the low countries (principally Holland) during that era. Their arrangements were in some respects rooted in the organ-dominated combos of the British Invasion/beat music era, following the mold of the Animals or, more arcanely, the moody Dutch group Les Baroques. The choked, slightly psychedelic texture of the organ had a more cathedral-like feel than the ones employed by the Animals or Les Baroques, though, looking forward in some ways to the approach characteristic of psychedelic and progressive rock.
Lyrically the Blackbirds were odd birds, delivering brooding and morose sentiments in a groping and occasionally half-sardonic, half-cheery fashion, indicating perhaps that their grasp of the actual meaning of the English words they sang was less than perfect. Melodically they also seemed indebted to the church, as their tunes and harmonies had a pious, almost hymnal tone.
British Invasion and R&B influences can still be detected on their 1968 debut album, though on their second and final effort (from 1971), they were moving in a more avowedly prog rock direction with greater emphasis on pseudo-classical arrangements and extended instrumental sections. As of the late '90s, these guys were still unknown even in hardcore '60s/psychedelic/progressive collector's circles; they're a cult group waiting to happen.(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)
Mr Unterberger write the Blackbirds were a BELGIAN band. Folks believe me they were a german band. And the whole review is just antic. Here is a short bio by progarchives.com:
THE BLACKBIRDS were originally formed in south-west Germany and they released their first album "No Destination" on UK-Label Saga in 1968.
THE BLACKBIRDS consists of psychedelic beat/pop music with a touch of the Mothers of Invention type satire (Something Different) and some progressive touches. Strong vocals by singer and guitar player Werner Breinig and some interesting Hammond organ work by Hubert Koop are characteristic of the group's music which proves a great talent of specific song writing. The German label OPP released 5 tracks of this first album on the "Snake in the Grass" album later on. 2nd album "A Touch Of Music", originally released in 1971 on German Label OPP with a complete new line-up - with the exception of singer and guitar player Werner Breinig who now played violin and flute as well- and a complete new style of music. They adopted a nice, poetic and classical (not symphonic) influenced progressive style with long tracks. There was also room for some more powerful passages inbetween, characteristic for the early seventies progressive music we all have learned to love (Dag Erik Asbjornsen, Cosmic Dreams At Play).
Unfortunately, THE BLACKBIRDS were disbanded after these two album.
Both original THE BLACKBIRDS albums are very rare but thanks to German Label Long Hair, both albums are reissued with some bonus tracks.(progarchives.com)
SB1 Flac p1 & Flac p2 mp3@320
Psychedelic Pop 1968: Ellie Pop - Ellie Pop 1968 (2005 World Psychedelia Ltd.Records) Flac & mp3@320
Some rock collectors/fans consider Ellie Pop’s only album a mid 60’s classic. The sound is straight out of 1966/early 1967 (though this album was released in 1968-) with strong Beatles influenced melodies and harmonies. Other comparisons that come to mind are a guitar oriented Association (with more balls!) or the Merry-Go-Round, on their less trippy, Beatles inspired material.
There are no psychedelic freakouts, distorted vocals or backward guitar solos on this record. It’s a straight up power pop/pop record, with the occasional odd time signature and plenty of good song arrangements. The production is not as pristine as say the Left Banke’s debut, so the playing and the record itself sound rough or crude at times.
The songs reward with repeated listenings though, and the Fab Four injected Whatcha Gonna Do is a personal favorite (those Yeah Yeah Yeah’s are straight out of the early Beatles songbook). Oh! My Friend has a vibe similar to Rubber Soul’s downbeat folk-rock numbers, sad and moody but a worthy song nonetheless. Can’t Be Love is also very good, with some strange twists and turns and excellent thick guitar riffs that hum like a Mustang engine.
Nearly the complete album is influenced by my all time favourite band and it works pretty well. Very fine album.
SB1 Flac & mp3@320