ARTICLE ABOUT Bad Company FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 17, 1976

As always, when you read an article written by Nick Kent, the writing is impeccable, but maybe he should have let his interview objects be even more central to proceedings? Anyway, it is a wonder that Mr. Kent could express himself as eloquently as he does, considering he was a herion addict throughout most of the 70s. It sometimes amazes me what people of great talent is able to achieve using hard drugs. But, in the end, everyone will have to pay the price if they don`t stop before it is too late. Thankfully, Mr. Kent was one of those that survived. Read this quite interesting article by one of the most talented music journalists of the 70s.

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…Well, come on then, Rodgers, act mean and nasty for the kids!

NO way. Paul Rodgers fails to live up to the horrendous tales of on-the-road booze and belligerence. He`s being a nice guy. And the rest of Bad Company? They`re being nice guys as well. Nick Kent does not even get insulted, never mind get his face smashed in. Oh well, that`s life.

The things we rock writers come up with! For my sins I recall to this day a ridiculously pompous conversation that took place between yours truly and one American scribe – now a fully paid-up member of the Rolling Stone editorial higher echelon but at this point a budding `punk terrible` working out of Detroit – where we came to the conclusion that the only valid dialectic situation left to the rock star-rock critic was to get into highly elaborate fist fights.
Whether this concept was inspired by the much-publicised fisticuffs between Bob Dylan and venerable rock eccentric A. J. Weberman or whether it was just a kind of dumb cool thing to think up at the time doesn`t really matter. Nor did, at the time anyway, the fact that both of us were yer archetypal nine-stone weakling far more adept at hiding under tables when even the vaguest whiff of violence was mooted in the air than `piling in` so to speak.
Surprisingly enough, I`ve never really found myself in a situation where I`ve been forced to declare arms against some irate musician following some less than complimentary review. The nearest, in fact, I ever came to an out-right confrontation of any sort was at an L.A. club where a drunk and offensive John Bonham (Led Zep drummer to the unitiated) poured a jug of cream and a couple of brandies over my coat, this being presumably his idea of a good `wheeze`.
I in turn found the escapade to be thoroughly unpleasant – any retaliation on my part was scarcely the order of the day seeing that Mr. Bonham is built like the proverbial shit-house door and was constantly flanked by two even more muscular than he.
All in all though, the incident did leave a rather sour complexion on my comrade`s idea of the fist-fight as viable rock dialectic, at least in my view and I quickly forgot about the whole thing.

Until, that is, the assignment. Pretty routine stuff on the surface, it was. Fly out to Jersey, land of the ageing gout-booted British tax exile thirsting for some vague replica of the Olde Country wherein to while away his retirement savings, and interview Swansong Artistes Bad Company, themselves tax exiles but in this daunting position through their mercurial ascendancy onto the pedestal of top-flight rock superstars.
All very straight-forward, but then again, Bad Company do have this reputation preceding them for a belligerent boozed-out boisterousness. Legend has it that even my oppressor M. Bonham was so shocked by their behaviour at one Atlantic Records function that he took it upon himself as co-chairman of Swansong to chastise them gravely for their hedonistic philanderings. (Now that little episode I would have liked to have witnessed).
And then again, how can I forget that touching scenario played out by Paul Rodgers, Bad Co`s leading protagonist, just one year ago. The Faces` Christmas Party it was – a civilised enough occasion, and there was I waiting to savour the sheperds pie and mixed veg laid out on this large table when who but Mr. Rodgers should appear, muttering dark curses at everyone in his booze-tinted view, and promptly lay waste the entire table in question, tossing food-stuffs here and there with nary a thought for present company.
Quite put me off my appetite, it did.

As it happens, almost all my colleagues in the business have their own P. Rodgers anecdote. One party, I recall, voted him the single most unpleasant man in rock, while Charles Shaar Murray recalls the time he witnessed our hero almost set about a Hungarian waitress for merely asking him to take his feet off a chair in the hotel restaurant.
More to the point, further reports lead one to believe that Bad Co.`s corporate ascendancy had worsened the Rodgers temperament considerably. A prominent Swansong musician/co-chairman who had freewheeled it over to the States to see his company`s band slaying `em on the East Coast last year mentioned to me a few months ago that the lead vocalist`s unwillingness to swamp his ego in with his three cohorts and become more flexible musically could cause great dissent with the Bad Co ranks.
And finally there was a Rolling Stone (what else?) piece which vividly documented the band on the tour in question seemingly immersed in a never-ending morose bacchanalia with Rodgers particularly obstreperous.
Ruminating over what I`d gleaned from reports on the Bad Co. temperament in regard to this Jersey venture, I envisaged at least some quotient of `aggro` emanating in my direction – principally from Rodgers, I presumed, who might well not like the cut of my clothes, shape of my legs etc. and would probably bottle me if I asked a question perhaps not to his liking.

Well, to remove what possible suspense which can be drawn from the writing of a piece on Bad Company, nothing like that happened at all. Photographer Pennie Smith and I arrived at the hotel to be greeted by two plates of slightly stale sandwiches and a nice-guy Welsh roadie who agreeably set about farming out members of the band for the interview. The inevitable naturally occurred – I was faced with all four members at once for most of the actual interview, a gnarling situation which totally denied any facility for the more intimate one-to-one heart-to-heart patter which usually reveals something interesting.
Instead the band palled it up and quite agreeably joked around, cooing forth platitudes about the new direction their music was taking and how their new album, “Run With The Pack” was by far their most advanced and satisfying recording.

Facing the band in toto so to speak, you really can`t help but be struck by the visual incongruities of the members. Drummer Simon Kirke, a genuinely entertaining and likable raconteur of `witty stories`, must possess the most oppressively bulging biceps in all rock history, both muscle-packed arms just crying out for a plethora of tattoos with motifs like an anchor just above the elbow and “mother” scrawled just below.
Kirke`s whole persona reminded me of Robert Plant`s whole `likely lad` style; their slightly North of the Border accents are almost identical, in fact. In total contrast, guitarist Mick Ralphs seems to have the physique of a post-adolescent teenager even though he bows to holding down an age “politely known as late 20`s.” For the years spent paying all those proverbial dues in Mott the Hoople, he still possesses the incredibly healthy wide-eyed pallor of a youth making his debut with a band at some local Hereford youth club.
Seated next to him, bass-player Boz Burrell presents even further visual incongruities. Decked out in full cow-poke regalia – the frayed denim shirt, unostentatious boots and lean black stetson, his “jazzer`s” beard makes him resemble the unlikely outcome of Acker Bilk signing on with the Eagles.
And finally there`s Paul Rodgers, short and stocky, moving from his seat to the bar like a Jersey bullock swathed in a bizarre-looking sheep-skin lined suedette bum-freezer which made his contours look all the more bizarre. His face looked remarkably haggard and a presumed lack of vitamins and hot sun made his hair look unhealthy and matted as if he`d just donned a rather shaggy doormat in lieu of a crown topper. I do recall stepping back a few paces in agitated reverence as he stomped into proceedings.

So what do we talk about, boys?
After a few obvious `ice-breaking` questions, I decided to divine the band`s opinion of the Rolling Stone piece referred to earlier.
“Well you`re a journalist, what did you think about it?” Kirke retorts amiably enough.
So I mention that – well, reading between the lines it appeared the writer felt a touch disorientated by the surroundings, didn`t seem to be enjoying himself too much and consequently wrote the article from a rather jaundiced aspect.
“The thing is” – Rodgers has just sat down – “he didn`t once mention anything about the music. There was nothing said about the music.”
Ah yes, the music. I mean, it`s more than fair that Rodgers should bring up the whole “music is the message” schtick – after all, that is his and Bad Co.`s only real claim to fame – they`re musicians, not philosophers or crusading emissaries for some worthy cause.
It`s just that talking and writing about music, particularly of the groinal variety, is basically such a prime pain in the ass, ringing forth all the same old platitudes and cliches as it does in these situations.
As it is, Bad Company have had their talents farmed into the computer-critique from more or less the first note they ever played. The definition always tends to read, “Good hard-rock band… sturdy but unambitious”, with special mention of Rodger`s very impressive vocal style and a possible merit star for Kirke`s excellent trashing abilities.

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Boz Burrell – Gone, but not forgotten.

The definition wasn`t embellished further by the release of “Straight Shooter,” the second album, and one wonders if the adjectival “unambitious” won`t be underlined a little heavier with the soon-to-appear “Run With The Pack”.
After the interview formalities have been dispensed with, Burrell and Ralphs play me a cassette tape of the Olympia gig showcasing at least five new songs which in turn showcase the patented formulas that have kept the band buoyant through two albums worth of toons thus far.
The first formula is Ralphs` personal adapton of the Keith Richard-Chuck Berry block chord rocker, only this time the full-blooded thrust of “Can`t Get Enough” through to the excellent “Good Lovin` Gone Bad” is made manifest in “Sweet Little Sister”. Obvious chord changes, obvious rock-swagger rhyming lyrics – Sweet Little Sister/You know you can`t resist her/She`s got it made in the shade, borrowing not a little from the Stones` phrase-book but that doesn`t mean it doesn`t rock like a bitch.
It`s just that one can only go so far with such limited concepts, no matter how full-blooded the performance and what with everyone from Kiss and Aerosmith down to your-local-punk-band-in-Stretford or Dayton, Ohio, scraping at the bones of `70s rock`s killer riffs – the “Brown Sugar” patent, the “Sweet Jane” chord changes, “Honky Tonk Women”, you end up needing more than even Paul Rodgers` supple vocalese to supply the edge.

Rodgers, for his part, appears still overly fond of his old Free stylisation if a song like the new “Simple Man” is anything to go by. That same loping, melancholic beat, same dour brooding chords (Rodgers in `soulful mood` always sound like he`s kicking himself because he never got to write Traffic`s “40,000 Headmen” before Winwood conceived the tune), the same earnest but bland utterances.
This time we`re faced with Rodgers waxing philosophical after a fashion with these gem-like utterances for company –  “I am just a simple man/Freedom is the only word that means a thing to me.”
Well at least it`s not pretentious and for that I`d gladly take an outfit like Bad Company over the infinitely more ambitious but ultimately ill-postured Queen. It`s just that full-blooded unoriginality and jaded pretence are pretty lean pickings when your expectations settle on that high and mighty echelon both bands are poised on at present.
Bad Company, for their part, tap their feet and nod agreeably at each other. They also mention that the more `advanced` stuff on “Pack” hasn`t been fully mastered yet for stage-performance. Still, one feels just a touch cynical when Ralphs sets about defending his statement recorded in Teazers a couple of weeks back that his band reminds him of The Beatles “in a very distinct way”.
“Yeah, I read that too,” he laughs for a second and then suddenly turns serious. “No, you see what I was trying to say… by drawing that parallel is that just like The Beatles we`re able to cover all the bases. By that I mean you`ve got Paul on one side and me and there`s melody and the rockers and…. Like Lennon and McCartney had that down. They covered the whole spectrum.
“That`s what we`re aiming for and now with this new album…”

And so it goes. As it happens, Ralphs is an extremely likeable bloke. I`d interviewed him several years ago when he was floundering with Mott (this was just before the DeFries union) and I was an idealistic cub reporter and the interview quickly broke down to become an energetic chat about favourite bands and music in general.
Looking back on his Mott days, I ask him whatever happened to the “budding Neil Young” image that Ian Hunter seemed so adamant about laying on the guitarist?
Ralphs fields off the `Young` schtick by simply retorting, “Well, with me it wasn`t as bad as Hunter who was desperate to be Bob Dylan (pause). Nah, Mott was a bizarre group in that we got into this whole thing of appealing to the loon-pants head-shaking audience. Yeah, a bit like Status Quo I suppose, only…”‘
Ralphs seems adamant about disowning the whole glitter-rock trip that the Bowie association set Mott up with. Indeed, Bad Company were conceived by Ralphs and Rodgers in terms of an earthy, anti-glitter backlash.
A question concerning the managerial merits of Tony DeFries draws forth inevitable comparisons with Bowie`s own Col. Tom and Swansong svengali Peter Grant.
“Well, DeFries knew all the stuff about law side of things. But I don`t think he really had any feeling, though, for the human or… uh, artistic side of the business. With Peter, well, it`s like he`s one of the lads really.”

Burrell defines Grant`s attributes as a manager further:
“He really acts as a cushion (sic) between the band and all the politics that are bound to surround one. That is, he lets you get on with the music totally while he fields off all the lawyers, record company guys etc. that are more than ready to hold back your actual output.”
Kirke: “We hardly ever sit down and do business with him. It`s usually always a social thing when we meet.”
Bad Company and Grant set their alliance rolling with just a handshake, by the way. A gentleman`s agreement.
Events following directly in the wake of Bad Co.`s association with Swansong show a more than dramatic change in fortunes.
Kirke dismisses his earnings from Free as “a pittance… I suppose that`s what you`d call it.” He prefers not to muse over any potential “sour grapes”.
Ralphs, upon leaving Mott, was faced with departing with a debt (Mott the Hoople were in debt to upwards of £100,000 at one point, so the story goes) or breaking free, thus nixing any personal hold on royalties arising from the subsequently successful “Mott” album. He chose the latter.
And Burrell? Well, his former escapades provide the best copy of the day. A former King Crimson employee (Fripp taught him bass “parrot-fashion”) his reminiscences are scurrilous if nothing else.

“That whole period of my life was ridiculous. I mean, if I`ve done anything in my life purely for the money, that was it. I mean, I`d be singing these lyrics and suddenly I`d stop and think, `Christ, what does that mean`. I reckon Sinfield used to dig out his Roget`s Thesaurus, find the most impressive-looking words and just throw `em all in.
“And Fripp! (laughs). He`d be sitting on his stool just scowling at us. So every night for an encore we`d rush out… see, the only thing Fripp can`t play is a straight-forward blues, so for the encore the rest of the band would charge onstage and before he`d got a chance to plug in his guitar, we`d kick off with a 12-bar! (laughs).
“On the very last night, Mel (Collins) demolished a mellotron as part of the solo. He just very methodically took it to pieces, right, and Fripp turned round… it was during `Schizoid Man` … he was on his stool (collapses laughing).
“The thing is, though, it`s ridiculous when people murmur that we`re all in Bad Co. for the money. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, I mean, that Crimson gig – that was a pure pay-check thing.
“It`s a shame really. People just don`t get it straight.”

So finally to Rodgers, who, far from the mooted belligerence of yore, was amiable enough. He even talked with mild candour about his drinking binges, saying that he and the band had cut down drastically in a tone which, to the impartial observer, appeared to mean business.
Later I overhear a phone conversation where Rodgers reverently mentions that he`s soon to become a father for the second time, which could well account for this new-found serenity.
Oh, and that tax-exile schtick. It appears to be not all champagne and roses even if alcohol and cigarettes are almost half the price. Kirke at least had picked up on some nookie. He had a date, he said. Taking her to the pictures, he was. To see The Jungle Book for the second time in three days.

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A really strange ad….

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Gary Holton, Ronnie Lane, Warne Marsh, Keith Moon, Kid Strange.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT 10cc FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

Mr. Erskine was not a big fan of this album that he reviewed for NME. Overly critical if you ask me. Personally I would have no trouble in recommending this album as it is full of great songs, some of them even classics, and this class of songwriting is almost impossible to find on albums these days.
Personally I have a special soft spot for the songs “I Wanna Rule The World”, “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and “Art For Art’s Sake”.
If you have never listened to 10cc before, you may like to take a listen. One of the great pop/rock-bands!

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10c.c.

Enn ui old iron

10cc: How Dare You! (Mercury)

By Pete Erskine

“With extensive critical acclaim to their credit and a succession of hits to their name, 10cc well deserve the accolade `Superstars`.” – record company press release.
“Superstar” is a euphemism for that final ascent to rock `n`roll heaven – the result of a specialised form of alchemy in which fans transform themselves into “freaks” for their band (“10cc freak, Burnley”) while the band is rendered as some kind of giant-sized sacred cow.
We, of course, become “so-called critics”.
I therefore suspect that if 10cc have become “superstars” then this new album of theirs will be greeted with universal critical fanfares and turn out to be their best-seller yet.
But will it be on the strength of its real, intrinsic contents, or as a result of the cumulative effect of their past track record?
This is the sort of question “superstars” have to ask themselves every day of the week.

One of the advantages/disadvantages about becoming a “superstar” is that people stop looking too closely at your work because a) they are frightened to disagree with the majority, and b) they start feeling paranoid that their initial investment/commitment might turn out to have been misguided.
The Business, for example, has, and will always be, loth to make sudden about-turns; similarly, punters in this country have little cash for gambling on the works of unfamiliar artists – hence they often prefer to follow only one or two bands exclusively.
If either of these turns out the occasional dog they will therefore make damn sure that they find something they like about it, even if it`s only the sleeve art.
It might actually be very pleasant to be an artist in this position – to be able to sit back and know that your work is being purchased almost on conditioned-reflex.
But the temptation to take liberties, to develop a cynical attitude to your audience and want to play little games with their gullibility must be very great.

More than that, this kind of “freedom” has to be damaging to the development of your art because you have nothing left to strive for.
It is, after all, a truism that an artist`s best work is often produced under strict discipline and duress.
Not that 10cc are in that position yet.
But, on the evidence of the contents of “How Dare You!” the results of their having been over-indulged by both press and public (as the pioneers of intelligent, satirical pop) are beginning to show.
“How Dare You!” is quite astonishingly insubstantial.
Musically, there is nothing comparable to “I`m Not In Love”, lyrically there is nothing as “witty” and nimble as “Life Is A Minestrone”.
Whatever happened to the kind of intelligence that produced a track like “Speed Kills”?
Having said that, I also acknowledge that comparisons are unfair.
But, on any terms this album appears to be an unloved pre-fab job assembled by a group of musicians with little feeling for their music beyond a preoccupation with sound quality (and even that isn`t as fully exploited here) and even less for each other.

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One does not expect a “warm”, endearingly human album from 10cc, but it does come as a surprise to be confronted with something as perfunctory as this.
I can only think to attribute this to the damaging effects of the kid glove treatment they seem to have received since changing record companies – and, perhaps to a certain over-confidence as a result of “I`m Not In Love”.
I mean, is it really such a good thing to spend over three months recording an album?
The album opens with the title track, “How Dare You!” which is epochal because it is 10cc`s first instrumental.
It might be the best described as 1984 factory music – the sound of massed cybernauts at their workbenches. The most one can say for it is that it`s cleanly executed. Essentially a filler, though.
“Lazy Ways” sets the musical mood for the rest of the album – a vague reprise of the atmosphere of “I`m Not In Love”; itself a reprise of the atmosphere of the Beach Boys` “Feel Flows”.
Lyrically it is an expansion of the idea proposed by one of the characters in “Catch-22” – that one can extend one`s life span by cultivating boredom:
“You get less done but,
more out of your days”.

“I Wanna Rule The World” takes the form of – again – a kind of cybernetic chant made more eerie through simple use of synthesised electric piano. However,
“I wanna be a boss/I wanna be a big boss/I wanna boss the world around/I wanna be the biggest boss that ever bossed the world around”
– does not constitute profound social commentary to me. Nor do the lines:
“Gimme the readys/Gimme the cash/Gimme a bullet/Gimme a smash”
(in Art For Art`s Sake”) – which are no more “perceptive” about “greed” than the Floyd`s “Money” lyrics.
In any case, The Last Poets, will never be surpassed as the masters of the form used for “I Wanna Rule The World”.
Aside from this, the dramatic impact of “I Wanna Rule The World” is greatly diminished by the group`s apparent inability to keep things simple – something they threw out between “Sheet Music” and “The Original Soundtrack”.
I am greatly disappointed to see them reverting to the old lamebrain impress-a-crowd technique of incorporating 2,000 chord changes a minute.
At times they almost sound as if they`re trying to re-record Queen`s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
It does, however, feature A JOKE:
“I get confused, so confused/I get a pain, I get a pain up here/In the Shirley Temples”.
The perfunctory 10cc pun.

“I`m Mandy, Fly Me” seems similarly pointless apart from representing that same pre-occupation with Sounding Important by tearing off the aforementioned blitz of chord changes.
“Iceberg” attempts to poke fun at platitudes in the same vein as “Life Is A Minestrone”, except that Minestrone is replaced by Iceberg.
Really, it`s so tedious I can`t think of much else to say. Depressing too.
There is, however, a fine Eric Stewart guitar solo closing an extended version of the single “Art For Art`s Sake” which opens side two.
“`Head Room`,” says the press release, “looks at a young man`s first encounter with sex.”
With the same kind of consciousness and dependence on dreary innuendo that pervaded Procol`s “Souvenir Of London”.
Simply crass – like the lyrics of “Iceberg” which conclude:
“There`s really not a lot that you can do/And I might be back for sloppy seconds”.
What`s that about?
Presumably the same tired schoolboy humour inherent in the lines
“Dumb waiters waiting sweating straining/All mass-debating my woman”.
– of “Don`t Hang Up”, which, thankfully, close the album.
The most insidious thing about the whole 10cc approach – which I wouldn`t mind if they could retain their initial high standards – is that it`s infectious.
At a time when, more than ever, we`re desperately in need of a return to simplicity, naivete, boy-girl lyrics and a Good Guitar Sound, 10cc are busy spawning mind-rot like “18 With A Bullet” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Give me “No Milk Today” any time.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

The journalist, Mr. Murray, is positive in his review of this album and later even wrote a book about Bowie that you will find here: http://charlesshaarmurray.com/books/
The album, in its original form, was only six songs but is still considered among Bowie`s finest among many of his fans. Despite its status and a #3 position on the US Billboard 200 chart and going to #5 on the UK Albums chart – it is only certified Gold in Canada, UK and the USA to date. Surely some mistake?
Enjoy!

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BOWIE

Don`t touch that dial

David Bowie: Station To Station (RCA)

By Charles Shaar Murray

“A sixty thousand word novel is one image corrected fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times” – Samuel R. Delaney

LONGACRE BOARD OF EXAMINATION INTERMEDIATE ROCK WRITING

Discuss David Bowie`s “Station To Station” from any perspective available. Up to two hours may be spent on this question. You may answer in note form if necessary.

1. It may be argued that there is a qualitative difference between music made out of necessity (i.e. to fulfil a contractual quota) and music made purely for the sake of enjoyment derived from making it.
David Bowie didn`t have to make this album.
After completing his work on the movie soundtrack of “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, he was supposed to take a holiday until the New Year (this one, putzo) when he was/is scheduled to go into rehearsal for the European tour and, presumably, the next U.S. tour.
However, he ended up writing a batch of songs and flying his band into L.A. from New York to go into the studio and make this; an “extra” bonus album, if you like. Kind of like “The One That Got Away” in reverse.

2. The album opens with the sound of mighty trains chuffing determinedly from speaker to speaker (must be a real trip in quad, Jim), heavily phased to suggest (“allude to” would be more precise) the ambience of the white noise you get when you twist a radio or TV dial attempting to local a channel. (Not to mention “station-to-station” (as opposed to “person-to-person”) long-distance `phone calls).

3. The title song, which opens the album, runs 10.08 (at least, that`s what it says on the label. I haven`t checked it). Bowie doesn`t make his vocal entry until the track is nearly three and a half minutes.

4. If Bowie was James Brown he could well have entitled the second, up-tempo half of “Station To Station” “Diamond Dogs `76”. The dominant sound of this album overdubs the claustrophobic guitar-strangling garage band chording of “Dogs” (plus, to a lesser extent, the howling, wrenching lead guitar of “The Man Who Sold The World”) over the itchy-disco rhythms of the “Young Americans” album, while Bowie`s vocals evoke the lugubrious, heavily melodramatic vibratoed almost-crooning of Scott Walker.

5. “Golden Years,” the album`s Big Single, is placed in the middle of the first side. The placing of an already-familiar single on an album of otherwise new material is always crucial, since it automatically provides a period of decompression, a relaxing of the concentration necessary to assimilate new music.
“Golden Years” is a masterstroke of a single (though not quite in the same exalted class as the masterly “Fame”) and it`s quite the most compact and direct piece on the album.
Elsewhere, Bowie lays out vocally for quite considerable lengths of time – particularly on the title track`s companion Marathon, “Stay”, which can be located over on the second side – leaving the band to cook uninterrupted.
His vocals are not only sparse, but mixed right down and mumbled into the bargain.
In the days when I was into lyric sheets (i.e. before I remembered that Dylan never provided a lyric sheet in his life, and realised that a crucial part of my enjoyment of “Horses” was down to listening to the words as part of  the record and comprehending/understanding/deciphering more of them with each listen instead of copping the whole thing off a dessicated cribsheets) I would have bitched about not being able to do the heavy lyrical analysis schtick straight off.
As it is, I find myself listening to the sounds of the music (and the music of the sounds, man, far out!) rather than even trying to make out the lyrics.
On a purely audio basis, therefore, “Station To Station” represents a solid triumph for Bowie as an organiser of music. Maybe if I had the sleeve I`d know whether it was a concept album (heh!) or not. Hope it isn`t, though.

6. Musically, the biggest surprise on the album is the intro to “TVC 15,” the first track on the second side.
It`s rolling bar-room piano (vaguely reminiscent of Climax`s “Loosen Up”) with Bowie copping the “Oh-woa-hoo-wo-ho” vocal intro from the Yardbirds` “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (the man is nothing if not eclectic) before settling into a tight but relaxed groove with a great chorus in which Bowie carols, “Transition/transmission”. It`s one of the craziest things I`ve heard in a long while.
Incidentally, I have no idea of what the title means. My theory (which is my own, etc., etc.) is that it refers to Channel 15 on Los Angeles TV, but on the other hand Joe Stevens suggests that it`s the register number of the video course that Bowie`s supposed to be taking at U.C.L.A., while Mick Farren opines that it`s a gearbox of some sort (alternate meaning to the “transmission” motif).
To coin a phrase, I await further enlightment.

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7. “Stay” features a lurching raunch guitar part performed, or so Mr. Kent informs me, by Ron Wood.
It confirms my belief that the standard of Mr. Wood`s playing is entirely determined by the company he keeps, a belief initially fostered by a comparison of his playing at Eric Clapton`s Rainbow Concert and on Rod Stewart`s sole albums (sublime) and on the vast majority of Faces manifestations (ridiculous), not to mention a brief earful of a recent Stones bootleg.
Here he gets plenty of room to smear funk all over the scenery, ably supported by Willie Weeks on bass (and presumably therefore Andy Newmark on drums).
Bowie`s vocal line, embellished by female back-up voices singing octaves, is quite absurdly effete – not to mention loopily wacky a la Sparks – but it seems almost logical when juxtaposed with Wood`s funk riffs.
Since I`m working from a blank sleeve with no info, I can give you no exciting tidbits about the world-famous musicians, engineers, producers, arrangers, derangers, freerangers and so forth who are doubtless embroiled in the proceedings.
I can hazard a guess, though, that Tony Visconti is present in some productorial capacity and Paul Buckmaster in an arrangerial ditto, whereas the other musicians are simply whoever was in Bowie`s road band at the time, with another Carlos Alomar or Earl Slick (or both) on guitars. The more Ronsonesque guitar leads on the album are certainly reminiscent of Slick`s work on the live album.

8. In addition to the above-mentioned songs, the album also includes two real croonaruskies on which Bowie – and this is Ian Mac`s idea, not mine, Dave ol` pal (heh heh) so don`t git mad – sounds totally drunk.
Dig the scenario – the bar`s closed, the proprietor`s sweeping the floor and stacking the chairs up on the tables with their legs in the air like abandoned mannequins, and this turd in the corner just won`t stop singing along to the backing track in his head.
More so than anywhere else on the album, Bowie discards the conventional tradition of rock singing (i.e. non-realistic, purporting to be a stylisation/abstraction?) of the way the singer “normally” speaks and by extension therefore is) in favour of an abstraction of the styles of the so-called “Balladeers”.
Both these songs are placed at the end of their respective sides; “Word On A Wing” comes at the end of side one, while “Wild Is The Wind” ends side two.
The latter was written by Toimkin and Washington (the only non-Bowie song); Tiomkin is presumably Dimitri of the Ilk, and is therefore, equally presumably, a theme-from-the-movie-of-the-same-name.

9. The main lyrical motif of the title song is “It`s too late (to be grateful)/It`s too late (to be hateful)”.

10. “Station to Station” is a great dance album.
It`s funk on the edge, the almost claustrophobic rhythms of “Fame” diffused through the tortured guitars of Ziggy`s memory tapes, plus that new vocal style, simultaneously ugly and mesmeric.

11. Let`s hear it for the title guy in the baggy suit.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 3, 1976

This is not a very flattering concert review. It seems to me that the reviewer hated the band before he was ordered to a do a review of this concert. The result is here for all to see. So read this with a large pinch of salt.
Enjoy?

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Workrate Astounding

But Queen lack midfield schemer…

By Chris Salewicz
Queen
Hammersmith

It`s difficult, you know, keeping up with all the fickle shifts in credibility and acceptability.
It is, for instance, apparently no longer accurate to view Queen as merely the last band to pick up the fag-end of androgyny rock in this country.
The other day (indeed) a friend of mine – a man of no small taste in these matters – was speaking of Freddie and his cohorts as being “The new Led Zeppelin”.
Heavy, ehh?
Well, you most probably saw the show yourself on the box on Christmas Eve.
What you maybe didn`t know was that the audience had been sat there in the Hammersmith Odeon since eight o`clock with only the Mr Big set to keep them occupied until ten o`clock. Last year, when the Old Grey Whistle Test had Elton occupying the same slot, the programme came in halfway through the set. Not for Queen, however. There was a definite sense that the audience were of secondary importance to the viewers.

Anyway, round about ten in the evening – after interminable amounts of piano tinkling and paradiddling from behind the safety curtain, and round about the same time that we suss that the spotlights putting black flashes in front of our eyes aren`t part of some particularly seasonal stage set but are your actual Beeb TV floodlights – the OGWT theme music starts up and Bob appears in silver grey top hat and tails and the show begins.
And they work so very hard.
If any band epitomises Calvinism in rock it must be Queen.
Freddie seems to quite positively adore the work ethic. In fact, he works so hard onstage that he overdoes it and ODs on his own efforts at times.
He moves about the stage so deliberately, so studiously, waving around and leaning into that absurb stunted mike he uses that every muscle in his body seems rigid with nervous tension.
Freddie doesn`t relax for one moment. He seems completely devoid of any natural rhythmic sense and plays his part with the assumption that if he works hard enough at it it won`t show.

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I caught the show a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham and couldn`t figure out what was wrong. Great show, I`d thought at the time. Even told Freddie that. But it was only when I saw Queen at Hammersmith that I figured out what was amiss.
But at least at Hammersmith he didn`t look quite so close to breaking into mid-tour tears on stage.
Now all this obvious effort works to the band`s disadvantage. Although his singing voice is impressively clear and powerful, Freddie doesn`t possess a good speaking voice. His onstage tone is unnatural and almost paternalistic. The stress factor appears to spread itself throughout the whole band.
Brian May, for example, appears totally unnatural when he takes off with some mildmannered brain chordings on “Brighton Rock” with the drum-kit spot behind him – the most impressive stage number, notwithstanding the fact that he`s utilizing a bastardised “Whole Lotta Love” riffs.
Of course, if I walked around wearing the kind of stage clothes Queen wear – they really do have the worst taste of any of the flash-rock bands – I`d be tense and nervous too.

Queen`s main problem, though, is that without their binding the whole caboodle together with musical effect after musical effect and visual effect after visual effect there just wouldn`t be anything left.
TINKLE. TINKLE. Smoke bombs. THUD THUD. Solo. Shift lighting. New number. Dry ice. Change costumes. Put Freddie on piano. Form a little intimate cluster by the drumkit.
But you forgot the soul, lads. You forgot the feeling. You`re the coldest band I`ve ever seen. You got great harmonies and arrangements and reasonable playing but in five years time do you just want to be remembered as a band that had a great stage act?
Oh yeah. And that ultimate contrived encore.
Well, first of all I can go to the Nashville and see any band on any night encoring with a rock`n`roll medley. Secondly, I object when you can`t even infuse it with any fire whatsoever.
Yes, of course they all get up on their feet but come now: most of the audience had been there for three and a bit hours already. Don`t kid yourselves.
And all that prancing about in your kimono to “The Stripper”, Freddie. Knock it on the head. You want credibility and you still come across like an old tart.
Led Zeppelin? You must be kidding. Queen are quite irrevocably Lightweight City.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rory Gallagher, Steve Cropper, Sailor, Paul Bley, Labelle, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, The Who.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 3, 1976

I have regular visits from people reading articles featuring The Who at this site. So for that reason alone it is a pleasure to post an old concert review from the legendary Hammersmith.
Enjoy!

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The Who

HAMMERSMITH

By Steve Clarke

The black monolith (stereolith?) of a PA system towers from floor to ceiling. Onstage The Goodies` Graham Chapman is receiving a hard time from this day-before-Christmas Eve audience, who`re wearing expressions of celebration all over their paper-hatted faces.
It`s the third and final gig of The Who`s Christmas series at Hammersmith Odeon. According to reports Sunday night was great – Monday`s gig a little dodgy. Tonight (Tuesday) they just have to blow everybody`s heads off.
Chapman leaves the audience with a few select profanities. Seconds later, The Who tumble onstage, Moon cartwheeling, and take their positions. Entwistle, a sturdy glitzy carnival with his sequined jacket, is stage right, and Pete`s opposite, wearing a white baggy outfit which looks as if it was pulled on a few seconds beforehand. His face looks decidedly haggard.
Townshend`s arms go into action and his fingers make contact with the sunburst Les Paul, introducing the staccato riff to “I Can`t Explain”.

The music`s okay, but not as powerful as The Who can be. Daltrey`s voice is shot, not as pure as it ought to be. Townshend`s guitar should be louder, but the Entwistle-Moon rhythm section is invincible and pounds along ruthlessly, compelling you to stamp your feet.
Despite these `defects`, spines are tingling and it wouldn`t surprise me if there`s a few wet eyes in the house. Hell, it`s more than good to see The Who onstage at Christmas. All around are faces brimful of joy. I`ve yet to see a band audience relationship like The Who`s; their audiences, no matter what the standard of playing, are always totally entranced by the sheer thrill of seeing Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon on stage together again.
It`s not as if all present grew up with The Who – looking around at the audience, it seems to me that Pete Townshend has no cause to worry whether he`s too old to play rock `n` roll. He might look a little weary, but the spirit which he and the rest of the band project is as young and as vital as ever; “the magic that will set you free” to borrow a phrase.
“Substitute” follows, and like the opening number its lyrics are as relevant today as they ever were. What`s the betting that more than a few guys in the audience are feeling just like that tonight? Into “My Wife”, Entwistle`s excellent song from the band`s finest, “Who`s Next”, follows, and the bassist`s voice is in worse shape than Daltrey`s.

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The further into the set, the better the music gets, and by the time of “Tommy” The Who are playing as they should. Townshend has gained the power his playing lacked earlier, and everything that has made The Who arguably rock`s greatest band is being demonstrated here tonight; the pyrotechnics, the dynamics, the band`s attitude towards its audience and its music.
“I`m Free”, “We`re Not Gonna Take It” and “Pinball Wizard” comes as a feast of power chording, and the energy which flows from the band is almost tangible. The first climax of the evening comes with the “See Me Feel Me” sequence, myriads of `lazer` beams being projected from backstage out across the theatre.
The audience erupts, spilling out into the near-stage area.
Introducing “Tommy”, Moon and Townshend had the wit to send the whole thing up, saying it was a piece of classical music when they know damn well it isn`t. Rock opera? Bullshit. Rock and roll isn`t about `operas`, it`s essentially about energy, joy, and most important of all, communication – and this is where The Who are succeeding most of all.
Unlike Led Zeppelin, The Who cry out for an audience to relate to, and there is no barrier between them and their audience. Mostly they`re not about pretensions. They might be a good deal more affluent than their audiences, but get them on a stage and their richness disappears and you know that at one time in their lives, they`ve lived the kind of life most of the audience are now living.

Unlike The Stones, there`s no celebration of evil and no jet-set ambience.
Daltrey might not be such an amazing performer as Jagger, but he is a lot more touchable as he trots around onstage like a toy soldier.
The only time on Tuesday The Who weren`t one hundred per cent convincing was during “My Generation”. I understand why they have to play it, yet when they do it`s as if they realise it`s one damn big lie.
Otherwise it all makes sense.
Part way through the song the band goes into one of their flop singles “Join Together”, and the song is genuinely apt. By that time the audience`s inhibitions have disappeared.
The following “Summertime Blues” is true to the spirit of classic rock `n`roll. Oddly the penultimate number is “Roadrunner”, at the end of which Townshend widens his guitar tone, even turning in a few Beckisms.
Their set closes with “Won`t Get Fooled Again”, a classic post-Woodstock statement. It`s played majestically, climax after climax, and perfectly timed so that balloons and fake snow fall from the ceiling as the music bursts into its final crescendo.
Townshend hurls his guitar at the amps and it`s over.
If you thought rock was dead at that moment in time, you must have been born in the wrong age. Easily the year`s best display of rock `n` roll.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rory Gallagher, Steve Cropper, Sailor, Paul Bley, Labelle, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, Queen.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.