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ARTICLE ABOUT Roger Daltrey (The Who) FROM SOUNDS, June 28, 1975

This is a refreshingly honest interview with the one and only frontman of the Who. This one should be read by all as Mrs. Charone conducted a really good interview here. Nice one, Barbara!
Read on!


Roger rides a rock horse

Exclusive Roger Daltrey interview by Barbara Charone

It was rather bizarre actually. There was this enormous inflatible lady, red satin knickers and racy black lace. But she was headless. And there was this silver space capsule plummeting towards earth. But it wasn`t really moving. And there was a patient Roger Daltrey saying “Lola B flat”. And an even more patient Ken Russell saying “Lola A flat”. It was really rather strange.
The fantasy and illusions stop for lunch. The inflatible lady stays behind in a dingy studio at Shepperton while the rest of the less plastic crew take time out from the very last day of shooting `Lisztomania` for lunch.
Franz Liszt climbs out of the space capsule and suddenly becomes Roger Daltrey. Roger Daltrey, actor, climbs out of some fancy grey threads into some scruffy denims and becomes Roger Daltrey, rock singer. We are back to square one.
The atmosphere is decidely more realistic inside the practical but unglamorous canteen. The food is the same standard, barely edible stuff found in any cafeteria but the clientele is more attractive. People from wardrobe and makeup, directors, sultry female extras, all sorts.


Roger Daltrey looks up from his roast chicken, casting an eager eye over the colourful crowd. He is very tired today, feeling the blunt edge of continuous work for the last 18 months. Not content to stay home and mind the pigs, Roger Daltrey has been busy lately.
We were talking about this dead end rock has run into. “It`s nothing to do with getting old,” says a member of the world`s only intact and unchanged rock and roll band. “It`s just learning things, growing up and becoming mature. It`s the growing up that`s anti-rock. Rock isn`t refusing to grow up, it`s the people that buy it; it`s what they want to hear. That`s what doesn`t want it to change.
“It`s still only the four people in the band. That`s why we`ve lasted because kids want to see the Who, see those four people. You can`t just turn it off, go somewhere else and expect people to put up with it.
“If the Who went onstage like the Pink Floyd, with an incredible light show, and stood there like four dead people that sounded great, our fans wouldn`t put up with that. Nothing is going to change. So what do you do?” The singer asked passionately. “What do you do?”
If you are the Who, you do a great number of things. You let the machinery unravel, slowly, allowing individual components to function without group environments, positively hoping that frustrations will disappear and the machinery emerge well oiled and more impressive than before.
While not known for their intimate comradeship offstage, the Who have seen even less of each other over the last 18 months with each member pursuing various cinematic and musical projects.
This Summer the individual components are being fused together again for the recording of the first Who album since `Quadrophenia`. Before examing the machinery in toto, let us briefly turn our attention to one energetic cog in the cycle.

“This album is very positive,” said Roger Daltrey referring to `Ride A Rock Horse`, his second solo album released next week. “The first one was a bit negative. If I`d been too positive then, it would have done the Who a lot of damage. I`m not insecure about doing a solo album now, which I was before. It`s not a matter of proving anything. It`s just that I love singing.
“It`s more the way I sing ya know?” he looked up intently making you understand instantly. “Like when I did my first album everyone said `oh Daltrey`s gone soft`. But that was just a side of me that got overshadowed in the Who. This one`s got more balls to it. It`s not wishy-washy at all. And the strings,” he says becoming excited,” aren`t any of that Mantovani stuff.”
Solo albums are a curious breed of record, alternating between the good and the not so good, sometimes sinking to new depths of tastelessness. There is no Court of King Arthur concept here, simply 10 musical songs. You remember, those catchy refrains that last a couple of minutes and are easily hummed? That`s right, songs.
“What I tried to do is get all my different influences on the album. There are little bits throughout that you can hear. One song, `Near To Surrender`, is me old soul days. It reminds me very much of an Otis Redding song, not the actual sound but the way it feels, “(emphasis on the feel).
“Little touches are thrown in all the songs. Like on `Hearts Right` there`s a solo bit that`s very Beach Boys with a little Stevie Wonder thrown in.” The singer laughs. “And `Milktrain,`” he says of a song vocally reminiscent of the Who`s `Dogs`, “reminds me of Syd Barrett, it sums up 1967, that whole flower power period.
“And `Ocean`s Away` has that water bit which is `Quadrophenia`. Of Course,” – he flashes a very large grin, eliciting looks of approval from nearby tables filled with the sultry female extras – “the Who stinks all the way through it. The Who are all over the record.”


But only in spirit and inspiration. Like his last solo album, which exposed someone named Leo Sayer to the world, Daltrey has chosen to record songs by less familiar names. This wise move achieves two purposes, simultaneously showing off Daltrey`s voice and new songwriters. Who wants yet another version of the same old songs?
“As usual I didn`t write any of the songs. But if I can`t write, at least I can expose other people because there`s so many artists that can`t get heard. I`d love the album to be a success because the people I`m trying to expose are worthy of getting a bit of success at last. Russ Ballard (who produced the album) has been around for years. He`s Mr Underated.
“I could have produced the album myself but it wouldn`t have been as good as what Russ did. Producing yourself on record is like trying to direct yourself in a film. What`s good to you isn`t necessarily the best you can do. You`ve got to get that something else.”
On the album songwriters like Paul Korda, Bugatti and Musker, Philip Goodhand-Tait, and Ballard, are exposed to an even wider public than before. As if this isn`t enough, Daltrey plans on allowing undiscovered talent to grow and mature on this record label, Goldhawke, of which his album is the first release.
“I feel very good about the record company. The Who should have been doing that a long time ago. When Track was set up those were the original intentions but it backfired.
“In the early days Track was really good. There was Hendrix and Arthur Brown. Then nothing. They lost interest in their own company which is sad. I hope that never happens to me.”
Paul Korda, who wrote three very good songs on `Ride A Rock Horse` is presently in Memphis recording an album for Goldhawke, singing like a `male Nina Simone`. And there are more extraordinary plans.


“We`ve got a group of young girls,” pause for decadent giggles, “who can really sing. And we`ve got this 16-year-old girl we found doing `Lisztomania`. We were doing a scene for a live concert. All the audience were young girls, the blue knicker brigade” – pause for more decadent giggles.
“At dinner they used to get up and entertain each other. And this one girl got up without a microphone and sang `River Deep Mountain High` and I couldn`t believe it! It was incredible. So we signed her up.”
And there`s the story about the guy who works in a `bloody tailor shop` and wrote a song for Roger. In a business continually low on enthusiasm, Roger Daltrey is an enigma, constantly full of enough energy and excitement to infuse any project despite the necessary voltage. Reacquainting themselves with each other again, the Who need an electrical shock.
“The Who need to get all that energy back together as a unit. At the moment we`re having problems finding that sorta energy. I`d like to see the Who back as a good rock and roll band,” Roger says with the vengeance of a real fan. “We are having a lot of problems. I won`t try and hide the fact that we are.”
I wondered if the problems merely revolved around not working together for a long time.
“It`s that and – well the group vehicle seems to have found it`s limitations on the surface. I think once we get down to it and really do it, we`ll find new boundaries. But at the moment, it all feels a bit cramped.”
With all the recent ballyhoo about the overwhelming `Tommy` film, one could easily attribute the band`s queasy feelings about communal confinement to the film. But the problems are deeper than just a fixation with that deaf, dumb, and blind boy.


“No, the film hasn`t affected us,” Roger says somberly. “The problems started before the film. It`s us taking ourselves too seriously. That`s the main problem. You`ve got to draw the line somewhere.
“It definitely got to the point where it wasn`t fun anymore,” he says echoing similar statements made in the Press by Pete Townshend. “And if it ain`t fun why bother?
“It doesn`t all have to be fun but I`ve always enjoyed it. But it`s really a group thing. Pete`s having terrible problems with wanting to play again, play in the situation we were playing in. To me, it`s all down to us. You`ve got to go onstage and try to get better and better. Some nights you don`t succeed but after a length of time you do get better.
“Pete seems to want to be able to get better immediately when nothing has changed. I understand his frustration `cause he doesn`t want to jump, when they say jump. But then again, it`s also entertainment.”
For a long time now, critics have suggested that while elevating them to new heights of commercial and artistic acceptance, the `Tommy` album has done nothing but hold the band back. Daltrey disagrees.
“It`s not `Tommy` that held us back. Nobody wanted to listen to what we were doing. `Who`s Next` holds up much better than `Tommy` but nobody wanted to take it seriously. Nobody wanted to give it the amount of thought they gave `Tommy`, just because it was 10 songs and no great, big, bloody thing about a spastic. It was just a bunch of songs rescued from another concept (Lifehouse).
“The whole head of the group was good at that time. We`d had the huge thing of `Tommy`. We were out there playing because we really wanted to play. No big heavy numbers. It was great,” Roger sighs in fond memory. “That was the most enjoyable period of my time with the group.
“The only thing I was down about then was a fear that the Who were getting overshadowed by the synthesiser. It didn`t happen because we took the songs onstage and did without it.
“In `Quadrophenia` we got drowned in it,” he laughs, “and funny enough `Drowned` was the only song that pulled us out. That was my main argument, you`ll never get the Who to play like machines. We`re not robots.”

Sure enough the inevitable happened. Taking `Quadrophenia` on the road without using additional musicians and destroying what made the Who great, meant using complicated tapes of backing tracks. Being a band that thrived more on emotion than mechanics, the Who would often start before the tapes and the tapes would sometimes start before the Who. On a good night they started together.
“What happened with rock and roll music is that it got caught up in technology. Even though it takes leaps and bounds when new sounds come out, nothing really changes. There`s a parallel everywhere. Only technology changes. Rock took on an enormous race between 1964 and 1974 and that`s slowing down. Suddenly it`s got nowhere to go.
“Rock isn`t going to change,” Daltrey says, old passions returning. “All you can do is keep writing the same kind of songs. You can`t let it die. So much has been done but I can`t see something new coming along. That`s why being flexible is so important.
“And, at the moment, the Who isn`t very flexible,” – he says the word like it`s made out of plastic. “That`s where we`re finding the crunch at the moment.”
This being 1975, several founding rock bands seem to be feeling that same crunch. Traffic have broken up. Punters put bets on this being the Stones` last American tour. Time off the road becomes longer than time touring. The Who are the last salvation of a dying era. Do they feel that pressure to stay together?
“I don`t give a shit about that. I don`t care whether they expect us together or not. As long as the next thing we do is 1 per cent better than `Quadrophenia` then I`ll be well satisfied. The album will be a straight album, no concepts and it will get done this Summer. We`ve attempted to start it already,” he says delicately of the fragile situation called making records.
Several weeks ago there was a lovely Saturday afternoon when the sun shone all day and temperatures were pleasantly warm. A perfect day for a rock and roll concert but the schizoid bill at the Crystal Palace Garden Party hardly excited any followers.

Instead it was a very long day of pretty much unexceptional music and so it was with much pleasure that I watched the Who that same night, on a `Second House` re-run, going through their paces at last year`s Charlton concert.
“That`s the Who,” Roger says of the days the band played live. “Either we own up and say that`s what we do or we pack up. I just don`t know.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes, cups and saucers clanging away in the background. Movie people getting ready to go back to a world of illusions. Finally I asked the dreaded question. Is no more Who a reality now?
“Yeah”, he says hesitantly, “very much more. I can accept it now. I couldn`t two years ago. And the reason I think I can accept it now is because maybe we have done as much as we can do. It`s nothing to do with existing outside the Who. I could have done that years ago; we all could have, no doubt about that.
“It`s just you get to a point where maybe,” optimistic emphasis on the maybe, “maybe you`ve just done as much as you`re ever gonna do within that framework. That`s being really honest.”
But certainly you don`t want to believe that? “I keep telling myself it isn`t true,” Roger laughs returning to his more boisterous self, shedding the serious overtones. I`ll be in there fighting till the last bloody second but like I said, I could accept it now.”
Those are harsh words coming from, perhaps, the Who`s most dedicated fan, who through the years has continually spoken of the Who as some magical society, capable of possessing extraordinary powers. All of which is very true.
Several devout Who admirers expressed surprise over the band`s recent appearance at star-studded, Hollywood-type premieres held round the world to signal the opening of the film event of the year. Some disillusioned followers didn`t understand what Ann Margret, champagne and caviar had to do with rock.
“You`ve got to go in and say this is a film, it`s just bloody show biz. You`ve got to get into that head. It`s just a laugh, nothing more serious than that.
“Those premieres did Pete a lot of harm. He got all these paranoias about who the hell is going to like the Who now. I mean our fans still like us,” Roger says sincerely, almost trying to convince Townshend even though he`s not here. “The film ain`t important at all. It`s the Who that`s important.”
It is 1975 now and the Who have grown up. But so have the audience. `Quadrophenia` completed the circle. The Who must begin another circle or abandon the vehicle.
Lunchtime was over now. Roger Daltrey had to stop being a rock singer and become an actor again. The inflatable lady still wore red satin knickers and racy black lace. The space capsule was still plummeting towards earth. I thought about the Who survival. “Lola B flat” barked Ken Russell. It was really rather strange.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!
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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (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 Rick Wakeman FROM SOUNDS, June 7, 1975

A really interesting and long review of this big and very ambitious undertaking from Mr. Wakeman.
Have fun and read on!


Ice cool Rick!

Mick Brown reports on Rick Wakeman`s concert on ice at the Empire Pool Wembley

In Camelot, nature calls. “These bloody costumes are so authentic they don`t even put flies in them”, grimaces a knight, patting his chain mail in frustration. “They`d just piss `emselves in the Middle Ages. That`s why they smelt so awful…”
His friend stubs out a cigarette, pulls on his helmet and attempts to struggle into his horse – a heavy frame, suspended on straps from his shoulders. “Fall over in this, love, and there`s no way you`ll be able to get up again. That`s what I`m dreading…”
On stage Rick Wakeman is picking his nose for the benefit of a French television crew. The stage is a large, cumbersome tub afloat a sea of ice, its cardboard-battlement sides bursting at the seams with musicians and singers. Wakeman`s keyboards are ranged on a raised dais centre-stage, 14 in number, some £20,000 worth of the most sophisticated wires, patches and circuitry available. Speakers, slung from gantries above the stage, give off a predatory buzz.
“We can`t hear the choir”, says Wakeman. “Can you turn off the buzz please. Can you just… please… bloody hell, TURN IT OFF. Thank you. And these lights. It`s the Empire Pool, not the Empire Stadium. A concert, not a bloody football match.” The lights blink out.
Wakeman turns to his keyboards. David Measham, conductor of the New World Symphony Orchestra, raises his baton. The two vocalists from Wakeman`s English Rock Ensemble step to their microphones. The English Chamber Choir and the Nottingham Festival Group shuffle expectantly in their seats. The music swells into force, rumbling up into the rafters, rippling around the empty stadium. A handful of knights step onto the ice and trace elegant circles around the stage. One scoots the breadth of the arena, executing a series of subtle twists and turns which culminate in an ignominious prat-fall. Oh, bloody hell…
“It`s very dodgy”, Rick allows, “because one man`s meat is another man`s poison. There are people who just want to go along to see a band, hear their songs, clap their hands and go home. I can understand that. And that`s all some performers like to give their audience. There`s others who try to bring, for want of a better word, entertainment into it; the theatrical side of things, but without over-riding the music – which is what we`re trying to do. I want people to leave thinking `we`ve had a nice time, some nice music, a bit of a laugh, a few serious bits`… I want the show to embrace as many emotions as possible, like a film.
“Everybody thinks I`m crackers, and that what we`re doing has nothing to do with music at all. To me it has. It`s like if you play a record on really good equipment and then play it on shitty equipment, you can`t tell me it`s going to sound better on the shitty equipment. The presentation is all important. If something is presented in what you feel is an appropriate way it can only help you to perform the music better.
“What upsets me is that it`s been reviewed by people before they`ve even seen it. It`s been knocked really hard by so many people who`ve already decided it`s a huge joke. I just hope that if some of the sceptics who are coming along really do enjoy it that they`ll have the balls to lay it on the line and say so. Because if it doesn`t work I`ll be the first to own up…”


As it happened, both Wakeman and the sceptics have a bit of owning up to do. For while the show vindicated Rick`s contention that rock on ice is not as incongruous as it may seem, the experiment was far from being an unqualified success.
Wakeman is perhaps the finest exponent of keyboard music in this country. As a composer he has incredible vision and scope, and the technical skills to weave rock, classical and avant-garde themes and ideas into a meaningful fabric. But in his eagerness to equate `entertainment` with `ambitiousness` Rick is in danger of forgetting that the essence of music is its simplicity.
He opened the show with a selection from `The Six Wives Of Henry The Eight` and material from the new Ken Russell movie `Lisztomania` and from the outset it was apparent that the taste of the icing threatened to drown the flavour of the cake. With everybody on stage trying to assert themselves the more subtle nuances of Rick`s music all but vanished in an excess of sound. Only when Rick`s keyboards soared free could his virtuosity be truly appreciated particularly during the quieter, more reflective passages of `Catherine Howard`.
The sound-mix had a lot to do with it; the Rock Ensemble`s rhythm section battered virtually everybody else into a fuzzy mid-distance on occasions, so that half the choir could have taken off for a quick skate around the arena without being missed, and the two vocalists, Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins appeared to be projecting their voices from inside a cardboard box.
They are the sort of problems that were doubtless ironed out for the second and third nights, and indeed the sound had improved considerably by the start of the second half. The first came to an amusing conclusion with Rick announcing something `sweet and gentil` – a swirling Wagnerian vignette which capsized into an electric honky-tonk version of the Charleston, complete with ice-skating flappers. The piece de resistance was saved for the second half.


After a short declamation of people who review shows before they`ve seen them (obviously a sensitive topic that), and a quick joust with his sequined cape (which wouldn`t stay on) Rick launched into `The Legends Of King Arthur`. Let it be said immediately that it was the ice-skaters who stole the show: the duelling sequences were skillfully executed (so was the Black Knight); Guinevere looked appropriately ethereal as she gracefully navigated the arena, while Holt and Pickford Jones sang a particularly soppy ode in her honour; and nobody fell over.
It quite took me back to my childhood, in fact; a feeling reinforced by the fact that I found the plot totally incomprehensible (is there a plot?). For `Merlin The Magician` the skaters moved aside for a movie, shot at Rick`s house in Buckinghamshire presumably, which was derivative in equal parts of Monty Python`s Search for the Holy Grail and Silvikrin Shampoo`s Search for the Ideal Head of Hair (Wakeman`s of course). All of which tended to reduce the actual music to the status of a tricky but forgettable soundtrack.
Rick`s keyboards trilled effectively enough, the Orchestra and band pumped away with great gusto and the choirs were in fine voice, but somehow the sum never fulfilled the promise of all the parts. In fact, only at the climax of the piece did I feel that the music was invested with anything close to spirit – a stirring crescendo of sound which all but drowned narrator Terry Taplin`s valediction to King Arthur and his Knights, and which seemed almost capable of bringing them back from the dead.
`Journey To The Centre Of The Earth` followed. Taplin reading the text as if it were the Ten Commandments and Wakeman performing as if he were the guy who wrote them. No ice-skaters or home movies (not even an inflatable dinosaur which had been pumped up during afternoon rehearsals); just the score, which contains perhaps some of the best material Rick has ever composed, but which, again, suffered from a collective over-indulgence; a howitzer opening a can of beans. By the end of the evening – after three hours music – the energy was beginning to pale somewhat. At its quietest the music was just soporific, and at its loudest and lustiest it could barely stimulate awakeness, let alone emotion.
But the company left the stage to rapturous applause which suggested that the full-house Wembley crowd were more than happy with the evening`s entertainment. Rick himself strode off beaming. Obviously the show had been all that he had hoped for too. I`ve still got reservations about the idea – especially as he now apparently plans to write an album around the concept of Mythological Gods. But isn`t it about time for him to lay such ideas in a peaceful grave, drop the orchestra, chorus, choir and Ensemble and get down to recording the definitive keyboard album? Solo.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!
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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (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 Ken Hensley FROM SOUNDS, May 31, 1975

Ken Hensley was an very important figure in the earliest incarnation of Uriah Heep. Without him I`m not sure they would have become as great as they did. But, then again, being a great and important band member doesn`t necessarily mean that you will do success as an solo artist. The sum of the parts and all that…
There is nothing wrong with this album, but I agree with the reviewer in that it lacks the originality to keep your attention. A Box or a Byron would have spiced things up in my opinion.
Read on.


Ken Hensley: `Eager To Please` (Bronze ILPS 9307) (37.00).

Record review by Pete Makowski

There is no doubt that this is an improvement on Hensley`s debut offering, `Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf`. It`s a more relaxed confident effort that shows a melodic side to Uriah Heep`s keyboardsman. It still contains some of the dramatic musical intensity that is prominent in Heep`s music but that`s about the only similarity detectable. Here Hensley is backed by ex-Heep bassist Mark Clarke, a very capable musician who holds back or lets forth when necessary. Clarke has also contributed one of the compositions, `In The Morning`, which is easily the best song on the album. It`s screaming with commercial potential, bouncing along merrily with some soulful sax from Ray Warleigh. The closest competitors to this are `Eager To Please` and `Winter Or Summer` which ride on a backbone of brash chord work and strong harmonies. Hensley seems to write his material around the limitations of his voice which is powerful but not very versatile. Drummer Bugs Remberton holds tight with Clarke`s bass playing which anchors the solidity and strength of the band`s sound. Hensley`s repertoire is varied from the heavily orchestrated almost schmaltzy tones of `How Shall I Know?` and the floaty acoustic ballad `The House On The Hill` to the brash supercharged humdingers like `Stargazer`. It`s a shame that Hensley doesn`t explore his keyboard playing a little more. The album could have done with some more guest guitarists, competent as Hensley is, his playing doesn`t have enough style, individuality or originality to keep your attention. A fair offering.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!
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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (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 Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, May 31, 1975

A really great article to read. Credits to Mr. McConnell for this one – well written! McConnell may be better known these days as an expert on glass on BBC`s “Antiques Roadshow”. A man of many talents then!
Read on!


Ronnie Van Zant kicked his Scotch habit: it`s wine now…

Life at the top is tough when you`re Lynyrd Skynyrd, as Andy McConnell found out

It`s 4 P.M. at the Santa Monica Holiday Inn, five hours before the first of two sell-out Lynyrd Skynyrd shows at the Civic Auditorium, a mile down the Pacific promenade. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant lies head on pillow and guitarist Allen Collins sits talking to Al Kooper. He`s the New York slicker who discovered the Jacksonville, Florida, band in an Atlanta bar in 1972, and has gone on to produce all three of their gold albums and their Top Ten singles – `Sweet Home Alabama` and `Free Bird`.
Van Zant lifts his head. “Kooper,” he declares, “I just gotta Mercedes and I ain`t even seen it yet. Ah jus` can`t wait to get back home an` see it.” Kooper grins back at the gruff little singer whose cowboy hat wearing habit has left a permanent ridge pressed around his blond scraggly hair, like an invisible fallen halo.
“I just got an Excaliber,” replies the producer. “It`s called Lynyrd Skynyrd after the person that paid for it.” The room dissolves into a sea of laughter.
In contrast to their raucus high-decibel music, the Skynyrds are a quiet, unassuming bunch. Despite years of solid gigging, one feels they remain uncomfortable in many on-the-road situations; slightly out of sync with the rock and roll business in overdrive around them.
After all, it`s only three years since guitarist Gary Rossington had to jive neighbourhood blacks into street running races and place bets with the band`s last half-dollar to feed seven hungry mouths and pay for gas to get to gigs.
Their new-found affluence has caused problems, however, especially to Ronnie. “I was drinkin` a lotta Scotch,” admits the man credited with `vocals, lyrics and J&B` on the band`s first two album sleeves. “It was gettin` so I couldn`t feel it any more, I was pretty burnt out on it. The doc said I was doin` myself in so I quit.”
So confident was he of his ability to kick the demon alcohol that Ronnie took on a total of $4,000 in bets to that effect. It was no time at all before he was off the wagon. “It`s wine now,” he laughs in a mellow drawl taking a broken-ended knife to his fingernails. And the bets? “Oh, I ain`t gonna pay them mutherfuckers,” he declares.


Van Zant and Collins each proudly lift the right sleeve of their T-shirts to reveal Technicolor tatoos acquired the previous day in a moment of drunken madness. “Allen and I went stumblin` into this place in the boondocks and said `We want some tatoos`. The guy asked us which ones we wanted, we pointed up to designs on the wall and he was stickin` needles into us straight away,” giggles the singer.
“Your mama`s gonna whoop your hides when you get home,” says Kooper, narrowing his eyes behind dark shades. Ronnie simply holds his self-satisfied smile.
Skynyrd make no secret of their admiration and respect for Kooper. Chances are that without him they could still be playing tin-pot Southern bars and clubs like the one he found them in three years ago.
Of the original five-piece Skynyrd, Van Zant, Collins and guitarist Gary Rossington remain. They named the outfit after their high school gym teacher Leonard Skinner, invariably the figure of authority who`d catch his pupils with hair reaching their ears and order a shearing. “He owns a real estate company now,” laughs Allen. “He did an interview in a Jacksonville newspaper and said he was expecting a royalty cheque from us for using his name.”
The current Skynyrd line-up is completed by Ed King as the third guitarist, Billy Powell on keyboards, bass player Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle who recently replaced Bob Burns on drums.
Kooper found the penniless outfit whilst recording in Atlanta. “I was going out every night to the clubs, checking out local bands,” he recalls. “I`d had the idea of forming a label as an alternative to Capricorn after seeing so many great unknown bands in the South. Just imagine how I felt when I walked into this club one night and saw the guys playing songs like `Free Bird` with nobody paying them the slightest attention.”
“The bars were really tough. One night we saw a guy get his head blown off,” grimaces Rossington. “But we didn`t mind playing them `cause we didn`t know nuthin` different. Hell, if three people clapped you`d feel so great you`d tear the place down.”
Kooper duly formed his Sound Of The South Records and signed Skynyrd as the first act. They had already recorded enough material for two albums at Muscle Shoals under Jimmy Johnson but nothing had seen the light of day. “We bought them tapes from Jimmy,” reveals Ronnie. “We`re gonna re-do the vocals, add some back-up vocals, touch them up a bit, sit on them for a while, then release them as an `Early Lynyrd Skynyrd` album.”



Their first album for Kooper, `Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd`, was a collection of songs Van Zant had written with assistance from the guitar players over a four-year period. Recorded in Doraville, Georgia, the sound was a raw blend of blues, hillbilly country and British boogie packed with typically Southern flavour; moaning slide guitar, country pickin` mandolin, aggressive guitars, driving rhythm section in straight 4/4 and dry, thirst-parched vocals. Van Zant`s lyrics completed the geographical picture with tales of disapproving daddies, guns, train rides, ghettos, the Lord and getting high on dope and booze.
“Ronnie stands in the shower singin` to himself and the songs just come out,” explains Allen scratching his meagre three-day growth. “Ma shower`s got the best acoustics in the world,” laughs Ronnie. “Ah always look for the melody first, then think up the words as ah go along. Ah memorise them, then take `em to one of the guitar players and we arrange everythin`.”
The debut album hovered in the lower regions of the chart for five months; creeping into the sixties, dropping back into the eighties, back again into the fifties. By the time they went on the road for their first tour, supporting the Who on their 1973 tour, they had over 100,000 sales under their belts.
“The tour opened in San Francisco at the Cow Palace in front of 18,600. We walked out on stage and went `eeerrrc, God, what am I goin` t`do?` Everything was played ten times too fast. We were awful, but by the time we got to the third night everythin` was jus` fine,” says Gary.
Massive success finally arrived with `Second Helping` and its single `Sweet Home Alabama`, the South`s indignant reply to Neil Young`s `Southern Man`:
“I heard Mr Young sing about it / I heard ol` Neil put it down / Well, I hope Neil Young will remember / Southern man don`t need him around.”

The Los Angeles Record Plant-produced album was considerably more slick than its predecessor. With Leon Wilkeson returned to the band after a short leave, Ed King could concentrate fully on augmenting Rossington and Collins` guitars, instead of having to double on bass as he had done on the first. Skynyrd`s fortè became the ability to balance the guitarists; two holding back for up to ten bars, then sweeping in at the perfect moment.
Both album and single turned gold. With `Free Bird` released as a follow-up single, Skynyrd rapidly emerged as an important headline attraction across the United States.
November and December found them outside their homeland for the first time; England, Scotland, Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. “It was real fine,” smiles Allen at the memory. “It`s very much like the South over there; the people seem much closer together, care for each other much more than they do on the West Coast or in New York.”
“It`s a much more sophisticated audience over there too,” adds Ronnie untangling his stained red T-shirt from underneath his back. “They don`t raise hell right when you go on stage like they do here. They make the band prove its worth.”
Skynyrd returned to the studio after Christmas, this time at Webb IV in Atlanta. Previously Van Zant and the guitarists had all their material written and rehearsed prior to recording sessions. This was not the case for `Nuthin` Fancy`; though `Saturday Night Special` had already been recorded for the soundtrack to `The Longest Yard`, starring Burt Reynolds. Nothing else was prepared.
“It was the best time I ever had in a studio,” raves Allen.
“It was awful,” groans Kooper who resumed smoking cigarettes during the recording after having given up for a year. “I nearly had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the looney bin. We`d get up at noon, have some breakfast, head into the studio and record straight through until six or seven the next morning. Then the same the next day… every day for three weeks.”
Kooper says the album is an attempt to recapture some of the rawness of the first effort, yet is only partially successful. The country-flavoured `Made In The Shade` and `I`m A Country Boy` certainly hark back to first album numbers like `Mississippi Kid`, but the rockers are far more lithe. From the outset there was no way Skynyrd could return to the Southern punk arrogance of earlier days, simply because the quality of their musicianship and professionalism has improved so dramatically.


Unfortunately Kooper`s firm-set ideas and the band`s natural development have unintentionally set themselves up in opposition, with Kooper wanting a sound that Skynyrd really cannot provide today. The result is that the album occasionally feels stretched, lacking in the hotter-than-hell feel that hallmarked the debut albums. “The sessions were a battle between myself and the band,” admits Kooper. But he insists: “That`s the way it should be – it creates the best music.”
That aside, with manager Peter Rudge now in control of their affairs, a very healthy track record and healthy European experience behind them, Skynyrd seem set.
As Ronnie so delightfully put it: “I think we could record `Mary Had A Little Dick` and it`d sell.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!
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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (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 Nazareth FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

To me it is obvious that the writer of this article isn`t too fond of rock music. So it is a bit surprising, and also pleasing, to see that he remains objective in his review. This review could potentially be a catastrophe, but actually ends up really well.
Have fun and read on!


Nazareth on a Summer`s eve

By Howard Fielding

It was with some trepidation that we set off on the overland track to Salisbury last Sunday, to see Nazareth – it was a warm Summer evening, the kind you spend sitting outside a country pub listening to the gentle sound of nature.
It didn`t feel like the night to spend crammed together in a sweaty crowd of raucous rock fans stamping and shouting their appreciation of Nazareth`s brand of heavy music. Also I`d been getting a little bored, lately, of the kind of music which relies too much on bass drums and deafening volume – it`s all right for Wintery evenings, but not for the impending delicacy of Summer.
Though Nazareth didn`t seem to fit the bill, although it was a long time no see, it might make a change and so it did, and I can say sincerely, and with considerable relief, that the evening was pleasant, entertaining and enjoyable especially in giving the lie to my misconceptions.
Nazareth are a moderately weighty band, but I`d forgotten how much variety and interest they give to their set, and how they combine in their music many of the hallmarks of an excellent band. But before them came Mike Hugg`s new band Hug, an interesting prospect for anyone who enjoyed his silky husky voice in his days with Manfred Mann and subsequently in his fine solo work, but there`s been a considerable change of style, to far more direct and forceful music, led principally by the striking guitar work of John Knightsbridge. A band with many possibilities, this, and well worth seeing. Hopefully they`ll get their sound better mixed in future, so that the top and bottom end of the drum kit doesn`t drown the middle ranges of the other musicians – when Ron Telemak did play a drum solo you hardly noticed there was any change. But it`s nice to see the man back on the road again.


Nazareth started their set with title `Changin` Times` from the new album, a well-bought record in the Salisbury area, judging by the crowd`s response. Straight away, the reaction, one felt, was reassuring – the sound, for one thing, though pretty loud, was well balanced and you could hear and distinguish quite clearly what each person was playing. Initially, it was Manny Charlton, surprisingly enough, who took the eye – playing short solo breaks which people like to call tasteful. When that means anything, it implies that the solo part is complementary to the rest of the music – it`s one of my criteria of a good musician – and Charlton gets good marks for it. In fact, only twice in the whole set did he play anything which could mildly be described as irrelevant or indulgent – and those were very short and quite entertaining little flurries.
Then, during the second and third songs, there was time to notice the light show, one of the brightest sets for a rock band currently in use as I had forcibly explained to me – but it was good, and again, fitted round the music. The band work their visual groupings pretty well, often gathering in small clumps around Don McCafferty, and not satisfied with standing morosely still, or stomping about distractedly. It`s impressive to see a band who have rehearsed what it seems necessary to rehearse and to leave the rest to their own personalities.
Charlton`s guitar changes, Pete Agnew`s bass change, McCafferty`s changing of mikes and slipping on of white gloves for the ultra violet effects of `Jet Lag` all showed smooth polish but without losing their personal expression in the music the rest of the time. As the set moved on, and I was surprised how many songs the band got through, you could see how well put together their act is. There`s a well thought-out collection of songs, varying from the slow stuff, like Randy Newman`s `Guilty` which it takes a good band to do well – to the more familiar furious pace they play at most of the time. But lots of people like nothing better than having their ears bashed – and good luck to them – Nazareth can cater for their taste. What distinguishes this band from the mundane, though sometimes more famous, loud and nasty men is that you can sit and listen to Nazareth as well. There`ll always be a market for bodyline rock. What is important is that people should be able to distinguish good from bad and as long as Nazareth get picked out as a superior quality rock band you can be pleased that we still have some taste in this country.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!
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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.