Audience was a London-based group that recorded their first album in 69 and had their eponymous debut pulled from the stores a few months after its release, which makes the album a major collectible (CD versions were also hard to come by until a recent reissue). They got signed by Tony Stratton-Smith of the Charisma label (Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, The Nice and a few others) but although not a purely progressive group, they bore a lot of characteristics of the masters…
Although Sweet Child is usually cited as the group's high-water mark, Basket of Light finds them at their most progressive and exciting. Highlights of this album – which actually reached the Top Five in the U.K. – include the buzzing jazz dynamics of "Light Flight," their moving rendition of the traditional folk song "Once I Had a Sweetheart," their reinvention of the girl group smash "Sally Go Round the Roses," and "Springtime Promises," one of their finest original tunes.
Following on from the hard-hitting blues of their debut album, Plays On caught the Climax Chicago Blues Band in somewhat transitional waters, testing any number of different musical styles, but never really setting on any. Certainly the funk thump that characterized their better later work was still an idea waiting to be explored, as the group instead fluttered between the scurrying jazz of the opening "Flight," the psychedelic tinge of "Hey Baby, Everything's Gonna Be Alright Yeh Yeh Yeh," the semi-Santana fusion of "Cubano Chant," and the heavy blues of "So Many Roads," all interrupted by "Mum's the Word," a dynamic Moog sequence that builds out of the theme from 2001, and then freefalls into total space rock.
On two days in 1969, pianist Phineas Newborn recorded enough material for two albums (the other is titled Harlem Blues), which is fortunate because these were his only recordings of the 1965-73 period. Newborn, who is joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Elvin Jones, performs a blues and bop set which includes such tunes as "Rough Ridin'," "He's a Real Gone Guy," "Little Niles" and his own "Brentwood Blues." The emphasis generally is on vintage tunes, and Newborn shows throughout that he was still very much in his musical prime.
A quirky detour of late-'60s British progressive/blues rock, Blodwyn Pig was founded by former Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left Tull after the This Was album. Abrahams was joined by bassist Andy Pyle, drummer Ron Berg, and Jack Lancaster, who gave the outfit their most distinctive colorings via his saxophone and flute. On their two albums, they explored a jazz/blues/progressive style somewhat in the mold of (unsurprisingly) Jethro Tull, but with a lighter feel. They also bore some similarities to John Mayall's jazzy late-'60s versions of the Bluesbreakers, or perhaps Colosseum, but with more eclectic material. Both of their LPs made the British Top Ten, though the players' instrumental skills were handicapped by thin vocals and erratic (though oft-imaginative) material. The group were effectively finished by Abrahams' departure after 1970's Getting to This. They briefly reunited in the mid-'70s, and Abrahams was part of a different lineup that reformed in the late '80s; they have since issued a couple of albums in the 1990s.
THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE is an 18-disc, 269-track box set featuring every track that Bill Evans recorded for Verve between 1962 and 1969, including 98 previously-unreleased tracks. It includes a 160-page, full-color book. THE COMPLETE BILL EVANS ON VERVE was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package - Boxed and for Best Historical Album. The 18 CDs in this exhaustive set provide a comprehensive picture of Bill Evans from 1962 to 1969, a period when the pianist was both consolidating his fame and sometimes taking his music into untested waters, from unaccompanied piano to symphony orchestra. His work with multitracked solo piano, originally released as Conversations with Myself and the later Further Conversations with Myself, was the most remarkable new format for his introspective music. It gave Evans a way to be all the pianists he could be at once–combining densely chordal, harmonically oblique parts with surprising, rhythmic punctuation and darting, exploratory runs.
One of the most enigmatic figures in rock history, Scott Walker was known as Scotty Engel when he cut obscure flop records in the late '50s and early '60s in the teen idol vein. He then hooked up with John Maus and Gary Leeds to form the Walker Brothers. They weren't named Walker, they weren't brothers, and they weren't English, but they nevertheless became a part of the British Invasion after moving to the U.K. in 1965. They enjoyed a couple of years of massive success there (and a couple of hits in the U.S.) in a Righteous Brothers vein. As their full-throated lead singer and principal songwriter, Walker was the dominant artistic force in the group, who split in 1967. While remaining virtually unknown in his homeland, Walker launched a hugely successful solo career in Britain with a unique blend of orchestrated, almost MOR arrangements with idiosyncratic and morose lyrics. At the height of psychedelia, Walker openly looked to crooners like Sinatra, Jack Jones, and Tony Bennett for inspiration, and to Jacques Brel for much of his material. None of those balladeers, however, would have sung about the oddball subjects – prostitutes, transvestites, suicidal brooders, plagues, and Joseph Stalin – that populated Walker's songs.
American band formed in 1960s whose reverent revival of 1950s rock 'n' roll made them a sensation. Sha Na Na parlayed their straight-ahead '50s rock & roll revivalism into a successful touring career, even if they were never as popular on record as they were live. The group's image and style were unabashedly anachronistic, as they covered '50s pop and doo wop standards, slicked their hair back in the greaser fashion, and dressed in flamboyant '50s costumes. Sha Na Na formed at Columbia University in 1968 and quickly built a name for themselves with live performances, often at the Fillmore East, featuring such theatrics as a dance contest for audience members. The original lineup consisted of vocalists Rob Leonard, Scott Powell, Johnny Contardo, Frederick "Denny" Greene, Richard "Ritchie" Joffe, and Don York, plus guitarists Chris Donald, Elliot Cahn, and Henry Gross, bassist Bruce Clarke, drummer John "Jocko" Marcellino, pianists "Screamin'" Scott Simon and John "Bowzer" Bauman, and former Danny and the Juniors saxophonist Leonard Baker.