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17 Jun 2017

Various "I Am Drum" 2015 Compilation Afro Funk recordings 1962-1980

Various "I Am Drum" 2015 Compilation Afro Funk recordings 1962-1980


With these ten songs, we travel across the 1960´s and 1970´s from Ghana to Madagascar, Mali to Benin thru Burkina Faso where Aftican rhythms wrote history."......................

Awesome Afro Funk & Afro rarities compilation on new swedish label Woah Dad! featuring music from Benin, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali or Burkina Faso......

A few months ago, Sing A Song Fighter Idrissa Soumaoro & L'Eclipses released forgotten masterpiece Le Tioko-Tioko and now it's Woah Dad! S turn to turn his eyes on the African continent. The result is an excellent collection of 10 tracks compiled by the hardworking musicologist Florent Mazzoleni, who says most about the quality. Discovered him through the reprint of Bobb Trimbles' New York Symphonic Masterpiece Harvest Of Dreams from 1982. 

In a short period of time, two Swedish record companies have gone the same way as Analog Africa, Vampi Soul and Soul Jazz. These labels are driven by the goal of recreating the past, returning lost recordings to their legitimate value. Music has nothing to download in a chest of drawers or on a wind, music will be kept alive. 

Mazzoleni has done a great job and the music commutes between Melody Ace's spy-like surf band "Assaw Fofor" to legendary Poly Rythmo de Cotonous funkinspired afrobeat. The latter band started his career in 1966 and existed until the early 80's. They record more than 500 songs and "Y'a Pas Moyen" is written on this disc. In other words, there is more to retrieve (if someone doubted). 

Getting to know I Am Drum is like being in place at the time of recording. The time difference between now and then ceases to exist, and in the exchange between African and American influences, organic and life-giving music appears that does everything to wake winter-borne souls. It's high time to wake up from sleep. It is cultural meetings that drive development forward.....[Woah Dad!, 27 november]..............

A1 –The Melody Aces* Assaw Fofor (Ghana-1962) 
A2 –Sylvin Marc Listen to Something About Soul part 1&2 (Madagascar-1968) 
A3 –Blucky D'Almeida*, Black Santiago Les Nanes (Benin-1972) 
A4 –Black Dragons De Porto Novo* Onyunho (Benin-1973) 
A5 –Poly Rythmo De Cotonou* Y'a pas moyen (Benin-1973) 
B1 –Gnonnas Pedro L'Indomptable Gnonnas Pop (Benin-1974 
B2 –Bozambo Kombissé (Burkina Faso-1976) 
B3 –Abdoulaye Cissé* Aw Yé Douba Ké (Burkina Faso-1980) 
B4 –Super Djata Band De Bamako* Tiefoly (Mali-1980) 
B5 –Pierre Sandwidi* Boy Cuisiner (Burkina Faso-1980)

Hunt & Turner "Magic Landscape" 1972 UK Folk Rock

 Hunt & Turner "Magic Landscape" 1972 UK Psych Folk Rock


Fabulous grooving folk rock sounds with plenty of atmosphere, first released by the much beloved Village Thing label in 1972. Ian Hunt and John Turner first teamed-up in the late summer of 1970, the inevitable collaboration of two of the West Country's most sought-after session musicians.

String bassist and guitarist Turner had just left the infamous Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra and Hunt, a wizard guitarist and song writer who was already a 'big-name' on the Bristol scene, was looking for a new vehicle for his talents. Both had been spawned by the legendary Bristol Troubadour Club, which Turner had run for several years, and within months the new duo was picking up fans and followers around the UK and in Europe.

This album went straight to number six in the Melody Maker folk charts upon its original release. Years later, Ian Hunt is still making stunning music and is rated amongst the finest guitarists in the land, while John Turner, ever the entertainer and entrepreneur, as well as being in his own words a "part-time rake and bon viveur," was until recently one of Britain's most respected BBC radio and television presenters.

Crystalline acoustic and electric guitars and delicious vocals, backed with electric and string bass and bongos; imagine if you will British band Magna Carta with a guitarist as skilled as Wizz Jones or John Martyn: acoustic instrumentation and strong songs......................

"The second of our reissues from The Village Thing catalog is this wonderful 1972 LP by the talented duo Ian Hunt and John Turner. Hunt & Turner got together in the summer of 1970, after having worked as some of the most in-demand session musicians of the West Country. Turner was an accomplished string bass player, while Hunt was already a big name on the Bristol scene, playing great guitar and writing songs. They moved around Bristol's Troubadour Club, which Turner had run for several years, and once the duo was arranged, they expanded their art around the UK and Europe. With this LP, they gathered a small amount of success, reaching #6 on the Melody Maker folk charts. More fabulous folk sounds, plenty of crystalline acoustic guitars and delicious vocals, at times reminiscent of CSN&Y and relatives. Hunt & Turner, who, besides their fab vocal duties, already play acoustic & electric guitars, electric and string bass and bongos, are occasionally augmented by John Merritt on bass guitar and Rod Matthews on percussion. Includes an insert with the lyrics."................

Wonderful 1972 LP by the talented duo Ian Hunt and John Turner. Hunt & Turner got together in the summer of 1970, after having worked as some of the most in demand session musicians of the West Country's. Turner was an acomplished string bass player, while Hunt was already a big name on the Bristol scene, playing great guitar and writing songs. They moved around Bristol's Troubadour Club, which Turner had run for several years, and as once the duo was arranged they expanded their art around the UK and Europe. With this LP they gathered a small amount of success, reaching #6 in the Melody Maker folk charts.

More fabulous folk sounds plenty of crystalline acoustic guitars and delicious vocals, at times reminiscing of CSN&Y and relatives. Hunt & Turner, who -besides their fab vocal duties- already play acoustic & electric guitars, electric and string bass and bongos, are ocasionally augmented by John Merritt on bass guitar and Rod Matthews on percussion.....................

*Ian Hunt - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Fuitar, Bongos
*John Turner - Vocals, Guitar, Electric Bass
*Rodney Matthews - Percussion

A1 Hold Me Now
A2 Silver Lady
A3 We Say We`re Sorry
A4 Magic Landscape
A5 Mr Bojangles
B1 Living Without You
B2 Man Of Rings
B3 Older Now And Younger Then
B4 Morning For Eve
B5 Rockfield Rag

Fred Van Zegveld "Hammond Organ Dynamite" 1969 Dutch Jazz Funk,Rhythm & Blues

Fred Van Zegveld "Hammond Organ Dynamite" 1969 Dutch Jazz Funk,Rhythm & Blues


I came across the existence of this album in a Prog Hammond list (see below) but there's very little remotely progressive about this, It being mostly straight up Jazz with a bit of pop thrown in, namely a couple of Lennon/McCartney covers. The covers are a little cheesy it has to be said but then Jazz covers of Pop nearly always are. Such are the way of things and it's only a small gripe. For the Hammond freak that shouldn't put any listener off because it's a very extensive workout for the king of keyboards. Entirely instrumental and backed with bass/drums and a little Jazz electric guitar, the Hammond screams and bubbles with the Leslie at every turn. Groovy man! .........

Fred Van Zegveld (born 23 Dec 1949, Rotterdam, Netherlands) became known as an organ performer of the Amsterdam band playing the Beatles style, named ROEK WILLIAMS & THH FIGHTING CATS, joining her in 1968, when she changed her The name for ROEK'S FAMILY, and her biggest hit was the song Get Yourself A Ticket. 1969 was very busy for Fred Van, as he was still in the band called THE FLOOD (not to be confused with the Americans from Chicago), along with two other musicians who also played in ROEK WILLIAMS & THE FIGHTING CATS: bassist and drummer Richard De Bois (Which ten years later became the producer of the band THE DOLLY DOTS) and Will Luikinga on saxophone and flute, which later became a famous DJ on Radio Veronica. Perhaps due to such employment, Fred Van Segfeld, in the same year full of work, recorded only one solo album Dynamite, which showed his love for the creativity of BOOKER T & THE MGs, Jimmy SMITH and others, although most of the tracks on the album are his own Composition.
It is said that this album was recorded as a compensation for the loss of a whole hour of studio time, as the group that rented the studio did not appear on the recording. Fred Van Seegfeld and a group of accompanying musicians were, so to speak, in the right place and at the right time, and recorded this album. There are no other members of the band on the cover of the album, but some managed to contact Fred Van himself and he personally provided this information. That's who was part of the album: Rick Beekman - guitar, Louis De Bey - drums, Ruud Jacobs - bass, Fred Van Zegveld - Hammond-organ. The title track appeared on several Dutch rare groove collections, interestingly performed and cover songs on the BEATLES composition. In general it is recommended......................

Fred van Zegveld became known as the organ player of a charting Beatlesque group called Roek Williams & The Fighting Cats, though they changed their name into Roek’s Family on the day Fred joined them in 1968, ready for their biggest hit Get Yourself A Ticket in ’69.
1969 must have been a busy year for him, because Van Zegveld was also a member of a group called The Flood that year, together with two musicians that also played in Roek Williams’s group: Richard de Bois on bass (who became a top producer ten years later, for amongst others The Dolly Dots) and Will Luikinga on sax and flute (who became a famous dj on Radio Veronica afterwards).
Van Zegveld’s only solo album „Dynamite” shows his love for Booker T & The MG’s, Jimmy Smith and such, though most of the tracks on it are his own compositions. Van Zegveld, who is still active as a musician today, doesn’t even own a proper copy of his album anymore, and if he wants to buy one on eBay, he has to pay at least 300 dollars! ................

Fred Van Zegveld — Hammond organ
Rick Beekman — guitar
Ruud Jacobs — bass
Louis De Bey — drums

01. Family Blues — 3:21
02. Here, There And Everywhere — 3:07
03. Daffodil — 2:01
04. Blue Organ — 3:23
05. Dynamite — 4:38
06. Misty — 3:40
07. Whiskey — 4:04
08. Round About 12 — 2:42
09. I Wanna Be Your Man — 6:26

Hairband (Alex Harvey) "Band on the Wagon" 1969 UK Psych Blues Rock

Hairband (Alex Harvey) "Band on the Wagon" 1969 UK Psych Blues Rock


U.K. Psych Blues album featuring Alex Harvey, Mickey Keene, Laurie Baker, Peter Woolf etc. This album was recorded when Alex was in the rock musical ‘HAIR‘ and the band that played all the music was deemed good enough to record for this album. Harvey wrote many of the songs and plays guitar and sings. Produced by former Animals keyboardist Alan Price.
Great heavy psych prog beast that would be as big and as valuable as other similar monsters like Open Mind and Motherlight if it weren’t for the presence of horns on some tracks. Personally, I don’t mind a little sax here and there, especially in public places.
Anyway, there are some really killer tracks on here, like “Golden Egg“, which starts off in a cool loungey funk mode before switching gears to a KILLER late 60′s go-go dancefloor theme with dramatic orchestral stabs and some sexy, jazzy sax solos.
“Electric Blues” isn’t really blues at all, but more of an upbeat rural-flavored psych rock track with some trippy backwards guitar. It gets more upbeat and picks up tempo as it goes along, culminating in a psychedelic maelstrom of wild guitar solos courtesy of Mr. Alex Harvey himself. ................

The band were formed by members of the band who played the music for the musical “Hair“ every night, but don‘t let that put you off! The music is Psych rock with horns and large pinch of Jazz Rock on the side...............

After the departure of Scottish singer Alex Harvey (Alex Harvey) in 1965 from the group he created "Alex Harvey and His Soul Band" he continued his musical career as a folk artist. However, his independent voyage in the folkloric waters was not very long, and the recorded vinyl "sorokapyatka", ran into, ultimately, the reefs and flowed below the waterline, with all the ensuing consequences. After that, Alex returned to the place with his traditional rhythm and blues and rock and roll, recording several singles with similar commercial results. In 1967, his musical career cracked at all seams. Trudy's wife was expecting the first child, so the family was desperate for the finances that Alex had to earn in rustic restaurants, singing on the demand of the audience fashionable hits and time-tested standards. He was close to despair and wanted to say goodbye to the profession of a musician forever. However, in this difficult period for him, a good friend of his advised him to attend a concert of Jimi Hendrix. Acquaintance with the music of the American guitarist returned the desperate Alex to life, and he again began to flounder desperately in the world of music. In 1968, Alex Harvey joined the London troupe of the Broadway psychedelic musical "Hair" (Hair), with which he worked for four years. From the musicians of the accompaniment of this performance, he created the band "Hairband", also known as "Hair Band" and "Electric Hair Band". With it, he recorded the long-playing LPs "Hair" Rave-Up - Live From The Shaftsbury Theater, London "(1969) (Zdes)," Band On The Wagon "(1969) (produced by a former member of the legendary band" The Animals " Alan Price) and a solo album "Roman Wall Blues" (1969). In 1972, after recording another solo album "The Joker is Wild" (1972), Alex Harvey created the quintet "The Sensational Alex Harvey Band", but this is a topic for another story...........................

Derek Wadsworth - Musical Director, Trombone, Piano
Alex Harvey - Vocals, Guitar
Mickey Keene - Lead Guitar
Laurie Baker - Bass
Peter Woolf - Drums
Frank Ricotti - Vibraphone, Alt-Saxophone, Percussion, Arrangements
Bud Parkes - Trumpet
Derek Andrews - Trumpet
Ashton Tootell - Baritone Saxophone, Flute
Maurice Cockerill - Piano, Vocals, Arrangements
Richard J. Studt - Violin (Track 2, 6)
Barry Wilde - Violin (Track 2, 6)
Paul Buckmaster - Cello (Track 2, 6)

A1 Sacrifice 3:58
A2 I'm Living 2:22
A3 The Yellow Bay Tree 2:32
A4 Swan Song 3:39
A5 Big Louis 4:56
B1 Band On The Wagon 3:43
B2 Travelling Song 2:57
B3 No Offence Eddie 3:12
B4 The Golden Bug 5:03
B5 Electric Blues 2:56
B6 How Deep Is The Ocean 1:35

Group Therapy "37 Minutes of Group Therapy" 1969 US Psych Rock

Group Therapy "37 Minutes of Group Therapy" 1969 US Psych Rock


Singer/songwriter Raymond Louis Kennedy's kind of an interesting rock journeyman. With a professional musical career stretching back to the early 1969s, his catalog includes recording a pair of rock albums with the band Group Therapy (1968's "People Get Ready for Group Therapy" and 1969's "37 Minutes of Group Therapy"). In 1970 Kennedy struck out in pursuit of a solo career. 
Signed by London's Cream subsidiary, 1970's cleverly titled " Raymond Louis Kennedy" teamed him with producer Dallas Smith and an impressive cast of sidemen including guitarist Harvey Mandel, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheel's guitarist Jim McCarthy, Moby Grape bassist Bob Mosley, and Love drummer George Suranovich. Showcasing a set of all-original material, Kennedy had an okay blue-eyed soul voice, Interestingly, if you look at his website you'll see comparisons to Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty. An admirable goal, but the CCR/Fogerty comparisons were lost to my ears. Instead, I'd offer up that he sounded a bit like a male version of Janis Joplin. Know how Joplin always sounded shrill and irritating when she tried to sound authentically bluesy and tough ? Well Kennedy exhibited the same tendencies throughout this collection. Shame, since I suspect if Kennedy had toned it down a bit the results would have been far more impressive. Instead what you got was a set heavy on Delaney and Bonnie-styled blue-eyed soul, with occasional touches of Tony Joe White swamp rock thrown in. The thing was that nothing here came remotely close to those other acts. In fact, the one really interesting performance was a totally unexpected slice of Zeppelin-styled blues-rock - 'Miss Goody Two Shoes'....Bad Cat.............

- Louis Raymond Kennedy -- vocals, guitar 

supporting musicians: 
- Max Bennett -- bass 
- David Cohen - lead guitar 
- Bill Cuomo -- keyboards 
- Duane Hitchings -- keyboards 
- Paul Humphries -- drums 
- Art Del Judico -- lead guitar 
- Harvey madel -- lead guitar 
- Jim McCarthy -- lead guitar 
- Bob Mosley -- bass 
- Johnny Raines -- drums 
- George Suranovich -- drums 
- Bob West -- bass

A1 Remember What You Said 3:05 
A2 Wait 6:07 
A3 River Deep, Mountain High 4:43 
A4 A Very Happy Day 3:21 
A5 I Got To Live 2:40 
B1 Can't Stop Lovin' You Baby 2:59 
B2 I Must Go 4:00 
B3 Cheer Up Baby 2:09 
B4 Willie 2:57 
B5 I Can't Believe It 3:48

The Flying Guitar "The Flying Guitar " 1969 Belgium Surf,Psych Pop

The Flying Guitar "The Flying Guitar " 1969 Belgium Surf,Psych Pop


In 1969, two years after Belgium’s premium band The Cousins had disbanded, producer Roland Kluger asked lead guitar player André Van Den Meerschaut (aka André Hasse aka André Shore) to record yet another album. With help from only two other musicians (bass and drums), André recorded all guitar parts for this album. The recording engineer was Pierre Dupriez, the musical adviser was Willy Albimoor. The recording took place at Studio Madeleine in Brussels.

The LP came out in 1969 as The Flying Guitar, with 11 tracks (3 of them being original songs written by Van Den Meerschaut). The LP had a typical late sixities sound, with shades of pyschedelia and flower-power influences.

The LP cover showed no sign of who The Flying Guitar actually was, so that many people still don’t know today that it was André, The Cousins’ lead guitar player......................

Wonderful cover! Where is the lady looking at? Who is she waiting for? Questions that will not be answered, because this record is totally instrumental and a pretty nice (guitar) exploitation album overall. Standouts are the catchy "Tabu" and the tremendously psychy "Electronics" (a self penned original by one A. Shore - has anybody heard of him, before or since? - filled with very trippy experimental guitar effects. The album's title "The Flying Guitar" is certainly justified with this track. Side B's "Muskrat" is a fabulous short opener, while "Happy Jack" and "Tranquility Beach" are self penned again; definitely enjoyable instrumentals holding enough attention which is rather rare for most "common" exploitation albums (I am not really a fan of the genre). "Caravan" is a nice closer. So 5-6 out of 11 songs make this lp worthy enough picking up cheap. I found it at an old radio station stock, somewhere in the middle of Holland, some 10 years ago. Bought a couple of exploitation records back then, some of them on the German Europa label like: Corporal Gander's Fire Dog Brigade and Animated Egg, nowadays both heralded as exploitation classics. This will most likely never be a (cult) classic, but is still worth a spin, especially for guitar ...........

In 1969 two years after the dissolution of The Cousins, guitarist André van den Meerschaut (aka André Hasse - alias André Shore) was invited by Palmer Producer Roland Kluger to make another LP. He received only 2 musicians playing drums and bass, so André took charge of the guitar work. Pierre Dupriez was the recording technician in Studio Madeleine in Brussels and Willy Albimoor, the musical adviser.
The LP appeared at the end of 1969 under the title THE FLYING GUITAR and consisted of 11 instrumentalals, of which 3 own songs. The album had a typical late sixties sound with psychedelic and flower-power influences.
On the cover there is no further indication who is actually this "flying guitarist", so that many have not known that this sologitarist André of the former Cousins ...........

André Shore (André Van den Meersschaut) — vocals, guitar
Pierre Dupriez — engineer
Willy Albimoor — recording supervisor
Roland Kluger — producer

1. Barabajagal (2:39)
2. Tabu (3:52)
3. I Started A Joke (2:43)
4. Electronics (2:55)
5. It's Getting Better (2:36)
6. Muskrat (1:56)
7. Take Five (2:33)
8. Jeux Interdits (3:17)
9. Happy Jack (2:32)
10. Tranquility Beach (2:35)
11. Caravan (2:47)

Tomaž Pengov "Odpotovanja" 1973 Slovenia Acid Folk, Folk Rock

Tomaž Pengov "Odpotovanja" 1973 Slovenia Acid Folk, Folk Rock


First. The first Slovenian LP. The first Yugoslav singer-songwriter album. First, in all respects at the time, recorded in mono and until 1981 processed in stereo. The album, which is the successor waited fifteen long years. 

In popular music it was from the outset a basic instrument guitar. She is attractive, because it did not require much space, it was not difficult, such as the piano, and it has always been found to play a harmonious accompaniment chords, which were based songs. Therefore, it is no wonder that at the end of the last century in the United States got a lot of popular support. They played a big black masters who invented the blues and rock'n'roll later, are used by the whites in their folk songs, which originated from the Irish and English folk song - in fact it was quite cheap. 

Even before the Second World War (during the Great Depression) are musicians such as Woody was Gurthrie, they laid the foundations of what we call singer-songwriters. Slovenian 'authors on the cans', as this kind of musicians sometimes the rules are, of course, role models found on the other side of the ocean or in Britain in the mid-sixties. Authors of music and lyrics, singers and guitarists in one person they create great music and crowd were well received. Who does not know musicians like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Donovan and the like, and Slovenes - Tomaža Domicelja, Andreja Šifrerja Alexander Mežka ...? The first Slovenian and Yugoslav kind LP was recorded in 1973 Tomaž Pengov - Pigl. Well, the first Slovenian singer-songwriter Tomaž Domicelj otherwise apply to this style successfully transferred to us..............

This is really legendary. The first album bohemian Troubadours Tomaža Pengova from 1973. On it but classics such as road smile in a day and awkward song. The album was reizdan 1980 in stereo and then in 1991 in digital format, but if you're lucky, if you have the original mono release, be aware that you own a small treasure........................

Tomaž Pengov is an acoustic guitar player and singer/songwriter from Ljubljana, Slovenia (ex-Yugoslavia). He recorded his first album "Odpotovanja" in 1973, reissued in 1981 in stereo. The original mono edition is very rare now. Pengov sings and plays 12 string guitar and lute. His music is original, the closest comparison is perhaps early Leonard Cohen. He took eight years (from 1980 to 1988) to record his second album, "Pripovedi", recorded with guest musicians. The music is still acoustic, but more varied. Later in the 1990s, he recorded two more albums, "Rimska cesta"(1992) and "Biti tu"(1995).........

Tomaž Pengov not only one of the Slovenian singer-songwriters. Tomaž Pengov is the Slovenian singer-songwriter, who previously poet as a singer and songwriter. Those whose folk songs have never been and can not be found in popular culture. He is the first Slovenian singer-songwriter, and as befits the pen out of his fingers and released plate, which is at least as much appreciated as simply beautiful: odpotovanja. 
Title plates suitable is its lyrical fixture also instability, unrest traveling. Pengov interpersonal relationships and reveals his thoughts through the metaphors of travel shoes, wind, road course, which actually leads all the way to outer space. Outlined the world is close to life in all its forms, somewhere halfway between the dream and the real. Inside he is waiting for us as fully fledged success: the smile of a day. This willingly serves as a sad hymn to all lonely travelers, persistent in his path. At the same time at least as important role as the selected route also plays music itself. Pengov on guitar and lute masterfully combines restraint with complexity. With few exceptions throughout the entire plate hear a distinctive engagement strings, leaning on the psychedelic folk music. This forms a hypnotic instrumental seen a majority of the songs of the Father and the space ship, where the verses just focus steps, as dictated by the music. 
September is marked by 40 years since the first edition odpotovanja. Then the mono version with a green cover is vinyl released in 1973 ŠKUC-in, these rare LPs are now considered to be a real little treasure and change the owner for the price of a few hundred euros. Reissuance was followed in 1981 (LP) and 1991 (CD). Pengovov debut is the first singer-songwriter plate in Slovenia and even the former Yugoslavia, as well as the first independent disc recorded in our music scene. As in the studio of Radio Student apparently was not enough alone to cool record, the majority of which occurred in odpotovanja Pengovovi bathroom on Prešeren. He sits on the closed shell was also an echo suitable for recording on a homemade mixer, which is sitting Aco Razbornik from the Studio Tivoli - odpotovanja also his first plate. 
As perhaps the most respected home troubadour Pengov is constantly subjected to a comparison with foreign giants. Because of the mysterious trance music and the voice of the first reference might Nick Drake. More often, they draw parallels with Cohen and Dylan, but Pengovov "fan page" says unjustly: onidva should also issued a bad panel, but Pengov not. The most convincing argument for the last argument? Odpotovanja. ........Matej Holc...............

A1 Cesta 4:17 
A2 Danaja 3:15 
A3 V Nasmehu Nekega Dneva 3:50 
A4 Potovanje Nespečih 3:34 
A5 Matala 2:20 
A6 Čakajoč Nase, Brat 4:20 
A7 Narodna Pesem 3:00 
A8 Kretnje 3:10 
B1 Druga Jesen 3:45 
B2 Oče 7:25 
B3 Sarkofagi 4:37 
B4 Ladje Prostora 7:57 
B5 Epistola 5:30

Paul Hansen "Celebrate Life" 1972 US Private Xian Folk

Paul Hansen "Celebrate Life" 1972 US Private Xian Folk

Excellent later album that creates a stark sparkling beauty with just acoustic guitar, bass and Paul’s voice. Only six songs, together clocking in at around 30 minutes. The music often has a moody solemn quality, an engaging “loner folk” type of sound that’s enhanced by the skillful interplay between the two acoustic guitars (Norman Strassner is the second guitarist, as well as bassist). Titles are ‘Yahweh’, ‘Ocean’, ‘And We Know’, ‘Fertile Soil’, ‘Life Line’ and ‘Celebrate Life’. The songs collectively provide the listener with “a perspective to understand their journey, rather than giving the content of what the journey must be”. Gatefold cover, plus a large booklet with prose, lyrics and artwork, the latter from Paul’s wife Sherry. Produced by The Commission On Youth Ministry, Lutheran Church In America. Don’t confuse with a youth musical of the same name. (The Archivist by Ken Scott, 4th Edition)............


01 – Yahweh
02 – Ocean
03 – And We Know
04 – Fertile Soil
05 – Life Line
06 – Celebrate Life

Circus "In The Arena"1977 South Africa Prog Hard Rock

Circus "In The Arena"1977 South Africa Prog Hard  Rock


Circus were one of the most exciting live progressive rock bands of the mid 70's. In lead singer Bernie Miller the group had a showman that rivaled Jagger, Freddy Mercury etc... add some of the hottest players in the country and some great songs like Speed Queen, Long Legged Lady and their heartstopping version of Conquistador and you get an album that 26 years later still sounds as majestic as it did back then. Digitally remastered by the band themselves and packed with rare photos and incisive liner notes.................

Circus ruled in South Africa's wildcat club culture of the mid-1970s - an original band, with a theatrical approach to their songwriting in the ballpark of David Bowie, Elton John, and New York's Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Not that they were copying anyone. It's just that when the pop market is on a roll, bands bounce off one another as they follow the momentum. That's when unknowns can break into the big time every week with their own twist on what's happening. That was Circus's edge. Everything they touched in their glorious 30-month run from 1976-8 set a new level of excitement in the biggest clubs of the Reef and the Coast. They stayed true to themselves, and wound up broken by the SABC's Tannie morality and the profit motive of the record companies. But they showed the way in the time of massive change in the music market. The Windrich brothers of éVoid and Jonathan Selby of Petit Cheval were regulars at Circus jams. In the pre-Punk era maybe Circus were South Africa's New Romantics. They were professional musicians, all under 23, with unshakable faith that they had what it takes to get to the top of the world charts. And in 1978 they proved it. Circus musicians arranged and backed the "all girl" group Clout's first single, Substitute; within months it was vying for the Number One slot throughout Europe with the Grease movie anthem, "You're the one that I want". "Substitute" sold nine million copies - hell, it sold around 250 000 in South Africa alone, as popular in Soweto and Mitchell's Plain as it was in Sandton and Booysens. The Circus musicians were paid R34 each for the arrangement and backing the session. It was just another daytime gig - pocket-money for club favourites who were making R1 200 a month each from door money. For them, backing a Clout single was just another step in their progress from Hillbrow to Hollywood. Just like Clapton playing on the Beatles White Album. It didn't threaten their own career: this album, In The Arena, had just been released.

Life was good and everyone could afford to be generous. Producer Grahame Beggs had the local rights for the string of 70s Abba hits, and he signed up Circus and Clout to pursue local success in similar glitter outfits. But when Clout's first single became the instant dance sensation of Europe's summer of '78, not everyone's priorities remained on the same page. Making money takes precedence over making music, and Circus were sidelined by the same kind of greed that prevailed when another form of gold had put Jo`burg on the map a century earlier. Which is sad, because Circus deserved an even break. And if they'd got it, this 1977 album shows they had original material for at least three singles. Long Legged Lady, Stupid Boy and Speed Queen were all club favourites, and all original songs. They each took a different approach to commercial hit formulas - in the manner of Lennon-McCartney's Sergeant Pepper album, or Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds, or the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber rock operas.

In those days, singles sold albums. Long Legged Lady was the sexy love song; Stupid Boy was the tragic ballad; and Speed Queen was Circus at full power, challenging bands like Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad at their own game. The rhythm section's tight, the keyboards are sleek and inventive, and the lead guitar breaks are fast and assured. This was a band honed, like all fine rock bands, on 300 club gigs a year. They knew what worked, and they were shaping their own place in the future. Singer/lyricist Bernie Millar sets the scene in the opening tracks - the curtain-raising In the Arena, and then the teasing Liberated Lady, burning her bra and letting it all hang out to mock the sexist pig on the bandstand.The only cover version in the nine tracks on this CD is Procol Harum's Conquistador. It's a far more exciting version than the old Whiter Shade of Pale group could come up with themselves, and its lyrics - about the haughty Spanish invaders coming to grief against the ancient Incas in a different southern continent. It appealed no end to Circus, who had their own cross to bear in the shape of broadcasters who still claimed to be outraged by the Beatles saying they had more fans than God. "We formed the band in 1975 to sell our own brand of theatre rock to South African audiences," says frontman Bernie Millar. "We had a million ideas for songs and there was a demand for good rock with a flashy stage act. It was all about the writing. Shit, the stuff in demand overseas was so over the top that we knew the world was wide open for us. We just went for it."

Bernie and Ron 'Bones' Brettell (keyboards) launched 'Rock n 'Roll Circus' in Port Elizabeth, and with the introduction of ex-Tank members Gary van Zyl (bass), Wally Cullis (drums) and Sandy Robbie (lead guitar) at a later stage, the name was abreviated to 'Circus'. Pictures back then show the same shaggy manes and dodgy moustaches as worn by the jaded Led Zep and the fast-rising Def Leppard. The same glint in the eyes, fuelled by free drinks, willing chicks and high-wattage testosterone. The big difference in the line-up was Bernie Millar - the one with the mascara dripping down his face and large sweaty patches in his skimpy, spangled jumpsuits. Ziggy Stardust on 12 cans of Castle and a bottle of hardtack a night. They'd worked out their ideas in two years along the coast's hard-partying club strip. It was joyous, no-shit, never complain, knob your tarts and drain your wine cellar, brand of glam rock. It kicked. The songs were geared for good times, manic enough to drive you brainless on the dance floor - but with hooks and lyrics to keep you coming back every week. It was saloon-bar theatre, with no concessions made to the pretensions of Johannesburg's glitzy discos and gay clubs. Which didn't endear them to the pink mafia that ruled the pop broadcast media. By the time they arrived north of the Vaal in 1976, Circus was the hottest club attraction in the country. Acts like Tina Turner, Tom Jones and George Macrae were playing the emporiums along Commissioner Street but a block away Circus was packing them in too. Night after night their fans happily exceeded the fire hazard regulations in Pretoria's OK Corral, and Hillbrow's Bella Napoli. The queues outside these places stretched two blocks long.

The band also had their own outrageous ideas about making an impact on TV. These were early days for the SABC's single TV channel and bland imports like Sweet and Gary Glitter were as far as the suits at Auckland Park were prepared to allow. When Elvis died on August 1977 they didn't even run a tribute programme. Times were ripe for rebellion. It came with the release of Long Legged Lady, a spicy four-bar riff into Millar's cocky opening: "She struts by with a red dress on/She don't look in my eye/She don't don't hear my song." A clever marketing strategy was required: it had to be funky to stand out on Pop Shop, without offending the Nats on the SABC's 'Acceptance Committee' - a group of self-interested career clerks who banned records from airplay if they felt any single word or line could upset the State, the Church, the Family or any other friends in powerful places. So Circus opted to back the tourism drive by featuring a cheetah on the video. The long-legged spotted lady would prowl the stage alongside Bernie and put South African music into world class along with the game reserves. Masterstroke. So a club gig was videotaped for TV. One midweek evening hundreds of loyal Circus supporters packed into Ciro's club, a plush mirrored basement opposite the Carlton Centre, to stoke up the atmosphere. The cheetah, a movie stunt-feline hired from a game park, was parked on the front of the small stage and Bernie edged into position behind the mike. When Sandy strummed the opening chord the cat laid its ears flat. Then it all turned into Loony Toons. When the bass drum slapped on the third bar and Bernie swung his mike up, the Cheetah lifted off like a SAM missile. Bernie went backwards across the drums, Sandy and Gary jumped sideways off the stage, and the terrified cat tore across the dancefloor, ripped into the camera crew, and took refuge under the tables. It was not a moment for bravado or cool poses: the A-list of Joburg's club glitterati fled screaming up the celebrated Ciro's staircase or through the kitchen doors like passengers in the final reel of Titanic. That's why Circus ended up recording Long Legged Lady for Pop Shop without the cheetah. It was historic footage, because the SABC banned it before it was broadcast. No reasons were given, but it emerged that a manager of TV1 didn't like Bernie's nipples showing as his jumpsuit opened on his naked chest. The eye-shadow didn't help either. The story ran Page One in the weekend press and the SABC wound up as usual looking like clowns. Which led to its national pop station Radio 5 joining the laager by refusing to play Circus records.

The tape was wiped, naturally. State assets like Armskor's nuclear weapons, the Steve Biko interview tapes and Pop Shop music videos were not public property. It wasn't a proud moment in 1977's chapter of SA pop, and the fracas didn't do Circus any good. No matter how hot a band's reputation in clubs, it's their record sales and TV exposure which open the way to international success. And by then, too, another influential leggy lady had entered the picture. Glenda Hyam, the impressive keyboard player and singer for Pendulum - another popular club band on the circuit - came up with the idea for an all-girl band, after she'd seen Joan Jett and the Runaways knocking 'em dead in LA. A local version seemed like a cute idea, until producer Grahame Beggs' wife Christine suggested they record the old Righteous Brothers album track Substitute. Once that bandwagon got rolling in November '77, Circus was headed for the footnotes. It was Clive Calder - the South African who today owns the world's biggest independent pop empire (Britney Spears, 'N Synch, R Kelly, The Backstreet Boys) - who first tipped Bernie off about Circus's short-term prospects. "He was here on a visit from London," Bernie recalls. "We were sitting outside by the pool at some party. Clive was desperate to sign up Clout; he told me they'd be the next big thing in pop. I knew he'd never get them, but I also knew it would finish Circus. It was one of those moments when you flash that one dream is over and you need to move on." The clubbers were tending to go out late on Tuesday nights, delayed by watching the new Dallas episodes on the box. Soaps were sweeping into pop culture. Bernie Millar had met Glenda before Clout recorded their first hit. That's her playing the castanets - badly at first, (cause no one was sober when the track was being finished) - on Conquistador. Sparks flew, and then she went off on tour overseas for most of 1978 while Circus stayed home, still in demand on the club circuit. But while Clout was never away from the TV cameras on pop shows like Top of the Pops and Musik Laden, Bernie and the boys were downplayed by the media here. It couldn't last. In August, Glenda came home and married Bernie. Bones and Sandy initially and much later Gary, took off to join the jet-set lifestyle as Clout's real band on tour for the next three years.

Bernie Millar backed by Boss, 1982
"We were a huge club band who made one good album," says Ron Brettell today. "But it would be interesting to see what we could come up with now," adds Bernie Millar. They're all highly successful musicians with their own recording studios. Guitarist Sandy Robbie digitally remastered this re-release of In The Arena, after Retro Fresh chief Benjy Mudie - formerly bass player with a fledgling éVoid and a die-hard Circus follower - found the original EMI master tapes. It's state-of-the-art. Back in 1977, local recordings were always top-heavy, to counter the effect of the shitty vinyl pressings. This is Circus up close and personal, staking their lives on making it big with their first throw of the dice. It didn't happen, but only because these five guys were in the right place at the wrong time. Talent wasn't an issue. After Clout, Gary van Zyl toured the US and Europe with Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu, as Juluka became the next South African sensation. Glenda Millar was on keyboards. Wally Cullis toured with Stingray; Ron Brettell backed PJ Powers in Hotline. Bernie took the lead role in a local production of 'The Ancient Mariner' and later wrote Little Sister's top-seller 'Dear Abbie' with Sandy, who became a member. "Okay, we were pissed off that Circus didn't crack it at the time," Ron concludes. "I can still see Sandy dropping his guitar in its case after our last gig, saying 'Another good band bites the dust'. But that's rock and roll. We believed we were the best around when we made this album and no one can take that away.".....Doug Gordon
May 2001.......African Rock Engyclopedia...................

Signed by the EMI associated Sunshine label, their debut album was produced by Graham Beggs. 1977's "In the Arena" featured a largely original collection of rockers that went a long way to capturing the band's club sound and repertoire. Largely penned by Millar (several other members contributing to song-writing chores), this wasn't intended as thought-provoking music-as-art, rather was the South African version of let's-party rock. If nothing else, song titles like 'In the Arena', 'Long Legged Lady' and 'Speed Queen' made it clear their interests were typical rock and roll fodder. I've listened to the album dozens of times and while I've never been able to figure out who these guys took their main creative cues from. At various times I've heard echoes of Mott the Hoople, Queen, Lou Reed-swagger, Styx, and even big hair rockers like Deep Purple. Since I like all of those bands, the album sits at home with me. On the other hand, if you don't have a taste for those other groups, this might not be up your alley. I guess the take-away here would be don't expect to hear anything with ground-breaking originality. At the same time, the album had more than its share of charm; even more impressive when you recognize these guys were operating in the midst of worldwide cultural and economic embargos. I'm guessing the closest they ever got to seeing any of those other bands I mentioned were via smuggled video cassettes........Bad Cat...........

Bernie Millar - Vocals
Bones Brettell - Keyboards
Gary van Zyl - Bass
Sandy Robbie - Guitar
Wally Cullis - Drums
Glenda Hyam - castanets on 'Conquistador'

1.In the Arena 4:25
2.Liberated Lady 5:20
3.Stupid Boy 3:01
4.Conquistador 5:47
5.Long Legged Lady 2:51
6.Speed Queen 2:42
7.I Wanna Be Free 4:59
8.In Spite of It All (I Don't Want to Die) 4:02
9.Michelle 5:13



Conquistador /
Stupid Boy (1977) Sunshine, GBS 127

In The Arena (1977) EMI, GBL(I) 507

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck