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Let Me Convince You…

Discussion in 'music' started by nickl, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. nickl

    nickl pfm Member

    Most of us will have a few albums that we regard as classics or near-classics that almost nobody else has either heard of or has any particular regard for. This thread is an opportunity to make a case for converting the multitude.

    Let me kick it off with this little-known gem:

    Manfred Mann Chapter Three – Volume One

    No really – stick with me for a while will you? Forget Chapters 1 and 2 (the Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo pop versions, excellent though they were) and Earth Band incarnations, this version of the group were very very different.

    Both Mann and Mike Hugg (the pop band’s drummer) were originally jazz and R&B fans who eventually got bored with doing straight pop and decided to go back to their roots, so what you end up with here is a band with pop sensibilities (and an excellent ear for a tune) coupled with a very British jazz (think Nucleus) fusion.

    Except that isn’t quite the whole story, because somehow what you end up with is the above combination but as if recorded by Dr John – not in the swamps of the bayou, but more like Eel Pie Island. Let me attempt to demonstrate…

    The band is now Mann on organ, Mike Hugg on electric piano and more importantly those creaky vocals, Steve York (really funky bass guitarist from East Of Eden before going on to Vinegar Joe), Bernie Living on sax and flute, Craig Collinge drums. There’s a host of assorted brass players too. And Hugg writes as many if not more of the tracks as Mann.

    Here’s the first couple of minutes of the album:

    Travelling Lady

    You get the drift? By the way, older readers may recognise the music for a cigar advert in there.

    Here’s a more overtly jazzy bit – if you’re not a fan of squally sax solos, move on… :)


    That was Mann’s thoughts on Enoch Powell, for those who can read backwards.

    There are a couple of other tracks on the album where the jazz becomes even freer, but mostly this about some great songs with some irresistible air-sax moments:


    some great songs with York’s distinctively funky bass guitar AND irresistible air-sax moments:

    One Way Glass

    reflective moments:

    Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I

    (this also has a lovely piano solo). But above all that strange dark swampy jazzy feel:

    Devil Woman

    It came out in 1969 on Vertigo (so vinyl versions are very hard to come by) and sank without trace, though the CD re-mastering is very good. I’ve rarely stopped playing it since and for me it only just falls short of a complete classic because some of the odd (and rare) free jazz moments are a bit too free for me and the production’s not the best – a little rough, and Hugg’s piano has a noticeable hiss/hum that creeps through in the quieter moments.

    But I’m really just quibbling – I love the thing.

    So, have I convinced you? Your turn…
  2. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob 47 Lab Rat

    Excellent idea for a thread. Hmm, will need to think about this one...

    -- Ian
  3. goose

    goose pfm Member

    Are you a bit of a progger? With an interest in the Vertigo swirl stuff? ( Sabbath, May Blitz, Gentle Giant, Colosseum)

  4. Dave J

    Dave J Übermember

    I guess this is a 'one-at-a-time' thing rather than simply a long list of candidates; depth rather than quantity. Anyway I've got shed loads of albums that fit this description, particularly those that no-one's ever heard of, although, here at PF, you occasionally come across contributors with very similar tastes - I'm convinced that kasperhauser has, near as damn it, the same collection as me.

    I'd like to kick-off with Ray Obiedo's 'Perfect Crime', which came out in 1989 on the Windham Hill label. I notice that the AMG critic damningly gave it 2 stars and described it thus: "This is better than its successor but still far from being authentic or compelling Afro-Latin jazz". Yes, it's jazzy and yes, Latin-y, although I don't get the Afro reference, nevertheless, the scribe got it wrong, possibly because he was far too hip and just a little peeved that he wasn't asked to review the latest REM or U2 release at the time. It's not an album that's trying to be "authentic", just a cool album of crisply funked up jazz tunes that include a couple of hook tracks that still work really well today. I know, I just played it.

    Rather surprisingly (given their usual taste) I came across Perfect Crime while demming a pair of Isobariks at Billy Vee's and it was one of those "I've got to have a copy of this" moments. So after paying for the briks I trudged off to HMV on Oxford Street and grabbed a copy, on vinyl, natch, so that I could emulate the wonderful slap bass opening bars to track 1, 'Short Stories'. Not in a Mark King overkill way, but in a clearly talented, session bass player way. Add plenty of tight percussion and a juicy horn section and you've got a cracking contemporary album.

  5. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    One of my 'greats' is Polytown - a collaboration between David Torn, Mick Karn and Terry Bozzio. Bozzio's drumming is a high point but I find the whole album strangely addictive. Most people think its crap. My favourite track is 'Warrior Horsemen of the Spirit Thundering over Hills', though not for the title, obviously.
  6. nickl

    nickl pfm Member


    I am a bit of a progger (but then I'm a bit of nearly everything), though at the time I thought Vertigo's roster was a bit on the weak side. I never got Gentle Giant or May Blitz (so convince me!), but have subsequently fallen deeply for Fairfield Parlour (aka Kaleidoscope). Valentyne Suite ia and always has been excellent though.
  7. Mat Bon 0013

    Mat Bon 0013 the Original

    You got me convinced! I'm assuming that its a CD, which label do you have?
    There is two labels offered online. However a vinyl version would be super ;)
  8. prowla

    prowla pfm Member

    Gracious! were quite good in the Vertigo swirl.
    I also picked up an Affinity CD , which might've been a bit too avante-garde proggy for me.
    Cressida is another one that I wouldn't mind a listen to.
    There was a "Best of Vertigo" (can't remember the exact name) sampler from 1970 that featured the above bands and some more (I guess Uriah Heep & Sabbath were on it).
  9. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Mat, mine's a CD on CMP Records - its a good recording.
  10. RJohan

    RJohan pfm Member

    I was in fact thinking of starting a thread like this myself. So, here we go:

    Byrds - 'Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde'. Very seldom mentioned and the one I consider to be the best, particulary the very live feeling medley that finnishes it of. I have it on both original US vinyl and CD. And, no, I don't like 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' (or anything with that Parson loser).

    Bruce Springsteen - 'Darkness on the edge of the town'. Ok, it's probably not in the 'unknown' category, but Swedish Radio had a feature on Springsteen recently, and it wasn't even mentioned! And no song from it is on 'Greatest Hits' either.

  11. Dave J

    Dave J Übermember

    I'd like to add another if I may.....

    Chris Difford - I Didn't Get Where I Am.

    Forget the Squeeze crap (unless you like/liked Squeeze in which case celebrate the fact that it nurtured such talent), this is a beautifully written collection of songs which will mean something to those of you '40 somethings' out there who look back on the 60's with fondness. Not in a musical way, it's far too advanced for that, but lyrically and emotionally.

    I was also delighted to discover that it was recorded just down the road from me in Rye.

    Check it out, you'll love it.
  12. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    << I was also delighted to discover that it was recorded just down the road from me in Rye.>> Whereas Squeeze were just down the road from me in Deptford.
  13. Tantris

    Tantris pfm Member

    One of the most underrated Captain Beefheart albums is Blue Jeans and Moonbeams;


    The opening track begins The Cap'n wore a nightie at the party of special things to do being growled out and it just gets better and better from there, with tracks like Observatory Crest and Further than We've Gone being particularly good. It's certainly Beefheart in a more mellow and bluesy mood than on his other (superb) albums, but the lyrics are the usual mixture of allusiveness and elusiveness. It's great, and I've probably listened to this as much as any other Beefheart album, even if it doesn't displace Trout Mask Replica.
  14. Andrew B.

    Andrew B. pfm Member

    I've always liked "Darkness on the Edge of Town" very much - especially the title track, "Badlands" and "Racing in the Streets". The man is a poet, honestly. And good on him too for coming out against the war - all those people who failed to understand the true intent of "Born in the USA" were shocked - but the reality is that he had always been a liberal in US terms.

    "Thunder Road" remains one of my favourite tracks of all time. I notice that Nick Hornby included it in his book of top ten (?) tracks.

  15. nickl

    nickl pfm Member


    Definitely food for thought. At the time I thought Moonbeams was a bit on the ordinary side - my favourite from the post-Trout days was always Clear Spot - but I've re-evaluated a pile of stuff recently and realised how good some stuff I dismissed was.

    For the record and to probably damn myself as someone of no taste whatsoever, Troutmask Replica is perhaps my least favourite Beefheart album - I recognise it as ground-breaking work of art but I don't ever want to listen to it (though how much of that is down to acid-induced trauma during Dachau Blues is another matter).
  16. Carl Nyqvist

    Carl Nyqvist pfm Member

    Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes - Wake up everybody.

    A couple of songs off this album included on 'Saturday Night Fever' and it would be the most complete genre album ever made. Disco at its very best, be convinced this really is a superb piece of music.

  17. DSCOTT

    DSCOTT pfm Member

    Band : Radio Birdman
    Album : Radios Appear (released 1977 OZ version, 1978 Overseas version)

    Great Australian band that formed in the mid 1970's. Influences included The Stooges, MC5, Velvet Underground, Blue Oyster Cult, garage and surf guitar bands. Six members including lead guitarist (Deniz Tek) from Ann Arbor (hence Detroit influences), guitarist from Canada plus four Australian's (vocals, bass, keyboards, drums).

    Incendiary live band. Deniz Tek is a superb guitarist and songwriter. Standout tracks on the album include "Aloha Steve and Danno" (based around Hawai Five-O theme), What Gives?, Murder City Nights, Descent Into The Maelstrom, Do The Pop, New Race plus great covers of TV Eye (Stooges) and You're Gonna Miss Me (13th Floor Elevators).

    Their only other (2nd) album "Living Eyes" is also fantastic.

    Here's some links for anyone interested :
  18. johnhunt

    johnhunt pfm Member

    dave j

    you're not danny baker are you?
  19. rodwsmith

    rodwsmith Yeah, right, member

    Well it's all so subjective isn't it? But one of my fave albums is "Booth and the Bad Angel" by Tim Booth (singer with James) and Angelo Badalamente (Twin Peaks et al). Their talents suit the other's style brilliantly, it has some strong melodies and is wonderfully produced. So, if you like any James songs it's definitely worth a go. I think his singing has never been stronger. Samples (were) here.

    Mind you I am a James fan. "Laid" is my favourite of their albums.


  20. johnhunt

    johnhunt pfm Member

    i'd make a case for the first dexy's midnight runners LP searching for the young soul rebels. i'm sure most of you have it but it's such a fantastic record.

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