Album Review

ARTICLE ABOUT Pink Floyd FROM New Musical Express, November 13, 1971

A glowing review by an unknown reviewer. Pink Floyd was an impressive band.
Read on!

Floyd `meddle` to good effect

PINK FLOYD: MEDDLE (Harvest SHVL 795; £2.40)

Record review by (Unknown)

FLOYD have done it again; something I thought would be difficult after the brilliance they showed with the Atom Heart Mother Suite, a piece of musical mastery that took great courage to put on record, and even greater courage to perform live — which they did successfully. On the second side of this album we hear Echoes, which in many ways is more important than Atom Heart.
Side one is really three themes. One Of These Days and A Pillow Of Wind are linked to each other by the haunting wind (also a feature of Echoes, producing a continuing element), with gentle use of instruments including both acoustic and electric guitar, interplaying well. Days is more forceful, with Gilmour showing off his guitar techniques.
Fearless is on its own in many ways, with an almost countryish guitar and a variety of moods, with the football crowd chanting “You’ll never walk alone” totally relevant to the theme of the lyrics. Then San Tropez and Seamus have a feel of blues mixed with jazz. The former track shows much of Wright’s keyboard expertise and a more mellow Gilmour. The latter features howling dogs.
Now to Echoes — a zenith which Floyd have been striving for but only partly achieved last year. The introductory sound effects, giving the impression of a submarine underwater, provide a backcloth for the instrumentation – the effect then emerging and becoming wind. But it is more than that.
Before, I had regarded Nick Mason as a solid consistent drummer, but now he shows a lot more flair, and Gilmour, Wright and Waters all contribute strongly to the piece. The music is grand, a good example being the guitar bridge between the vocals, in what seems like a two part harmony, at the beginning. They use a similar technique in the arrangement to that used on Heart, building the music up, then easing it down, and never letting the sound go empty, maintaining a compelling interest.
The middle part is a strong rock structure, with Gilmour cutting through hard, while Wright works around the theme. The effects, sometimes comparative to an electric cayotte, bring back the opening mood. It fades out at the end, rather than leaving you in limbo – which always makes me feel frustrated.
The important thing is that Floyd have created dramatic music without having to draw off the strength of full brass and a choir. The wind is used as the choir, and the effects of the organ soar and hold like an orchestra, with a deep bass synthesised sound like a viola.
Though this piece, Echoes, is not as adventurous in structure as Heart, I feel it is more significant because they’ve done it on their own. An exceptionally good album.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Status Quo FROM New Musical Express, November 13, 1971

I like this album – a lot. In fact, I think it is one of the Quo`s best. I never tire of hearing it. This record review is, dare I say it, quite “flat”. Not bad, not good. It just IS.
Read on.

STATUS QUO: DOG OF TWO HEADS (Pye NSPL 18371; price)

Record review by Allen Evans

This group create a heavy sound without any ear-blasting. The numbers seem a bit ragged musically, but they are meant to be that way, and a lot of free-play is given to the musicians to work out such driving numbers as Someone’s Learning and Railroad.
On Gerdundula they achieve some interesting string sounds to get an almost reel effect and the number is one of the best on the set. Umleitung has a rousing beat, with pauses which are quite effective, the piece being worked up by repetitions through more than seven minutes playing time. Lighter is Something’s Goin’ On In My Head, and guest start Rob Young shines on Harmonica on Mean Girl. He wrote three tracks with Mike Rossi.
Mike and Ritchie Parfitt take the vocals well throughout, as well as supplying wild guitar playing. And bassist Alan Lancaster has three more composing credits. The tune Nanana is used as a connecting link throughout this well-produced LP by John Schroeder.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Uriah Heep FROM New Musical Express, March 20, 1971

I can`t agree with this review. I think “Salisbury” is a fine album and that the title track is a really good and long composition that has more than some nice moments. Deserves to be heard regularly.
Read on!

Album review:

Uriah Heep: Salisbury (Vertigo stereo 6360028 £2.40)

By Nick Logan

No, it`s not as bad as the first, which just had to be a gross parody of all the worst excesses of heavy music. But perhaps, thinking again, what I really mean is that this second set is less offensive to the senses. It certainly gets off to an appalling start with a stage number called Bird Of Prey which harks back to the first album in that it revolves around a riff that has all subtlety of the Centurion tank used in the sleeve design. For the most part after that however it`s a softer, more subdued Heep, with a couple of songs, Lady In Black and High Priestess, while not outstanding, suggesting that the group might be capable of producing something worthwhile on their third attempt.
Title track is a 16-minute orchestral group piece using an arrangement for brass and woodwind. Individual group contributions, David Byron`s vocals, Ken Hensley`s organ, Paul Newton`s bass and Mick Box`s guitar, provide some nice moments. But as a whole the material doesn`t possess the attention-gripping quality a work of this length and nature requires.
Other titles: The Park, Time To Live.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath FROM New Musical Express, September 26, 1970

Here`s a real good one – Ozzy helping to review their second album, explaining what each track is about. There is also some assurances that they are not about any black magic at all… but the first time I heard the track “Black Sabbath”, looking at the cover, I was not, let`s say, thinking of angel choirs… No wonder that people associated the band with the black arts.
Read on!

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Black Sabbath win struggle against black magic tag

By Richard Green who also reviews `Paranoid` LP

Because of the nature of the group`s name, people tend to associate Black Sabbath with witchcraft. This is an understandable misconception, but one which should be put straight – the Birmingham quartet has nothing whatsoever to do with slaying cockerels and goats.
Making their NME Chart debut this week at No. 26 with “Paranoid” the title track of their new album — Black Sabbath are pretty fed up with the tag and lead singer Ozzy Osbourne met me at his manager’s office to set the record straight.
“A lot of people have a grudge against us because of this black magic thing, but it has got out of all proportion. At one time we got so confused with Black Widow it was unbelievable, though I understand that Black Widow are getting out of black magic now. We’re two completely different bands in music and everything,” he began.
“All the tracks on the first album were a warning against black magic. You get old business tycoons wanting to go with young chicks, so they go along to black magic rituals and get themselves involved… things like that, they’re sick. I believe in black magic but I’ve not tried it and I won’t.
The black magic thing caused a lot of worries for Black Sabbath when going to America was mentioned. Ozzy explained:
“It frightened us because of the Sharon Tate murder and we got very uptight that people would expect us to go on stage and turn people into frogs and things.”
He laughs about it now but at the time it wasn’t funny. Ozzy finds that people realise what the group are once they’ve seen them and he’s more than pleased that they’re starting to break big at last.
“We used to be called Earth,” he revealed, “We were just bumming round the country for two years like a lot of other groups and when things started happening we thought maybe it was our turn. All that sweat has now paid off. As long as people want to listen to Black Sabbath we’ll be around.
“It’s unbelievable on the Continent. We’ve just finished a tour and every night we were getting two or three ovations. Up until the last tour we were going down well but there was a thing that just wasn’t there.
“At one time I just wanted to get a record in the charts and when we did it was amazing. It’s not changed any of us, we just want to go on playing good music and making people happy.”

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Ozzy sat chain smoking and not holding back on his language, much of which was fruity. He makes use of expletives to emphasise points, most of which are good sense, and he has strong views on things like drugs and groups who have no time for other people when they’ve made the big time.
When he talks about Black Sabbath’s music, he is just as enthusiastic but he tends to get worked up in a quieter way. On recording albums he said: “We got so fed up hearing stories about love that we decided to write about what’s going on in life around people.
“If we start writing now for the next album by the time it comes up we may have a lot of good tracks or we may have a load of numbers we don’t like, so we leave it ’til the last moment.
‘We’re pretty quick at writing. Tony thinks of a riff or a melody and we write round that usually.
“We try to blend our music instead of getting the same monotonous riff. We like a lot of tempo changes so that it doesn’t get on people’s nerves.”
Black Sabbath turn out a gutsy, sock ’em all the time type of music which is never pretentious and the album is a good example of what they’re doing on stage. The speed and force of the music is sustained throughout. Tony Butler’s bass and Tony lommi’s lead guitar forcing the numbers along while drummer Bill Ward puts down a solid foundation.
Ozzy played me their new Vertigo album (42s. 6d.) and talked about the tracks. Here’s what he had to say:

WAR PIGS: “It’s about VIP people who are sitting there saying “Go out and fight” and all the everyday people are forced to, but the VIPs never do. We’re not a political group, it’s just that most of our songs have messages.”

PARANOID: “This is about a guy who has a hang up with chicks. It’s got a heavy riff. We’re not a single group and after the first single, which we didn’t like, we just wrote this in the studio and now its starting to sell.”

PLANET CARAVAN: “We wrote this in the studio as well. We decided to vary the album more by having a soft number. It’s a smokey jazz cIub number about someone going through space and seeing stars and things.”

IRON MAN: “This is about a guy who invented a time machine and he goes through time and finds the world is going to end. Coming back he turns to iron and people won’t listen to him, they think he’s not real.
“He goes a bit barmy and decides to get his revenge by killing people. He tries to do good but in the end it turns into bad.”

ELECTRIC FUNERAL: “In years to come, the way things are going, there’s going to be a nuclear war, which is what this track’s about. There’s a lot of evil in the world today.”

HAND OF DOOM: “It’s about people on drugs and what happens to them — their skin turning green and things. There’s a lot of gorey words, but we’ve seen a lot of people like that and it’s getting out of all proportion.
“If you can frighten people with words its better than letting them find out by trying drugs. I’m not trying to say we’re angels, I’ve indulged to a certain extent but I’d never try any of the hard drugs or trips or anything.”

FAIRIES WEAR BOOTS: “Again, it’s a warning about the use of drugs.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Fleetwood Mac FROM New Musical Express, September 12, 1970

Thought you would like to read a proper record review of this LP. Here it is – courtesy of Mr. Nick Logan.
Read on!

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Fleetwood`s latest LP full of surprises

By Nick Logan

FLEETWOOD MAC: KILN HOUSE (Reprise stereo RSLP 9004 40s. 8d.)

WITH Peter Green out and Jeremy Spencer in for this album (he wasn’t on the last one), categorising Fleetwood Mac is now utterly beyond the realms of possibility. Not for a long time a 12-bar blues band — though there remains blues in what they do – this set, the first without Green, is a strange, unpredictable mixture falling somewhere between the romanticism of “Then Play On” and the bizarre parodies of “The World Of Jeremy Spencer.”
It is Spencer who provides the dominant influence over Kiln House; having gauged from his solo album which of his parodies work on record and which become tiresome after frequent plays.
The set opens with a Spencer stunner, THIS IS THE ROCK. Beautifully engineered by Martin Birch, after a kind of Sun soul it features some amazing rock guitar by Jeremy and a subdued Jordanaires-type chorus. This and the spartan echo vocal give it a gorgeous fifties rock atmosphere that is cuttable with the proverbial knife.
STATION MAN, credited to Kirwan-Spencer-Mcvie, is possibly the album’s premier track and the one Reprise are trying to persuade the group to release as a single. A longish piece carried along on throbbing bongo rhythms, tonal harmonies are interspersed with long instrumental passages highlighted by a clean and tasteful Kirwan guitar. Vaguely Creamish in feel, it is without doubt one of the group’s foremost achievements to date.
BLOOD ON THE FLOOR is Jeremy again; this time into a parody of a sob-throated country blues containing hilarious lyrics like “I shot my darling,” “I got a date with the hangman and I got to go” and “Goodbye world I guess we must part.” Jerry plays piano and it works as a piece of music as well as a slice of humour.
HI HO SILVER is a Fats Waller number retitled by the group, a be-bopping blues rocker sung in the inimitable Spencer style. Again features piano, an echo vocal, sha-la choruses and harmonica. A good one.
Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (both writing for the first time) wrote the final side one track, JEWEL EYED JUDY, with Kirwan. This is the “Then Play On” Mac; Danny alternating dreamy and gutty guitar against a gentle insinuating rhythm which picks up tempo in the choruses. A pretty, melodic song but marred by the low key vocals, almost buried under the backing.

No prizes for guessing the subject of BUDDY’S SONG. Written by Ella Holly, sung by Jeremy, it’s a tribute song containing references to various Holly hits. The band have the Holly rhythms off to a tee by now but it’s a style Jerry may have worked once too often.
EARL GREY is a longish Kirwan guitar instrumental slightly Western-ish in tone although that may just be title association. It’s a perplexing track in that it never seems to arrive at its destination; all build up and no climax — but that is possibly the intention.
ONE TOGETHER is another Spencer parody, a Rick Nelson summer lover’s type song which doesn’t really come off. Again it’s not helped by a frustratedly half-heard vocal.
TELL ME ALL THE THINGS YOU DO is Danny’s best solo contribution and an album standout. Mostly instrumental, there is just a shade of the P. Green’s in some of Kirwan’s play but for the most part it is pleasing to report that his style is not only distinctive but unmistakeably his own.
The album ends deep in the bizarre Spencer mind. He opened with a rocker and closes it with a sentimental ballad. The song is MISSION BELL, written by William Michael and Jesse Hodges, and the reaction when I played it in the office was that it was Marianne and David Dalmour!
Romantically crooned by Jeremy, complete with bells, it borders on yukk but never crosses over and works somewhat after the fashion of the controversial tracks on the Dylan album because the singer’s affection for the song carries it. I must admit, sentimentalist that I am, that I very much enjoyed it.
Apart from two or three not so hot tracks, Kiln House is a fine album with a character of its own and promises well for the band’s Green-less future.

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