Showing posts from April, 2016

Vertiginous Musings - Part Four

Well, here we are at Part Four...not long to go now, honest!

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Gentle Giant - Acquiring The Taste

If you're looking for a defining original prog rock album away from the more obvious choices, this little beauty could well be it. Gentle Giant's debut was a good album, but this blows its socks off! 40 or so minutes of musical exploration allied to stunning arrangements by a bunch of incredibly talented musicians, this album set an early standard.

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Graham Bond With Magick - We Put Our Magick On You

More aimless jazzy noodling in the land of Crowley. Best avoided.

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Tudor Lodge - Tudor Lodge

Good folk record with occasional hints of acidity in the grooves that puts it at the lighter end of the same street as Trees and Comus, leavened by a touch of early Sandy-era Fairports.
The stunning six-panel fold-out die-cut cover probably outdoes the music in terms of inventiveness. The most I have ever paid for a, not telling!

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Vertiginous Musings - Part Three

Part Three reveals an overall musical quality dip, unsurprising given the number of "underground" labels now resorting to hoovering up the average bands by the denim-clad bag load. Our trawl is redeemed by a couple of real gems by unknowns. Also my "bargain bin" finds did not stretch much past the end of 1970 as far as release dates go, sadly, so from here on in the majority of these were bought during my manic collecting phase in the latter half of the 1990s. Therefore there's less chance of my judgement being clouded by nostalgia.

Read on...

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Graham Bond - Holy Magick

Graham Bond was responsible for a large part of the birth of the British jazz-rock scene, giving Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Dick Heckstall-Smith their starts, among others. That was via his influential Graham Bond Organisation in the mid 60s, but by this album he had lost himself to Occultism, and Holy Magick is the first of two spiral LPs devoted to the dark arts. Obviously this is w…

Vertiginous Musings - Part Two

My trawl through the formative years of the Vertigo label and its "spiral" imprint continues...

After VO7, the catalogue numbers have changed, as has the decade. We are now into 1970 and the music biz is growing apace. The major labels through their "underground" subsidiaries are signing up everything that moves, and some things that don't, such is their "relaxed" state. The bag here on in is as mixed as can be. Read on...

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Fairfiled Parlour - From Home To Home

Classy UK 60s pop-psych band Kaleidoscope emerge into the new decade with a new name and a slight style change, the former perhaps to allay confusion with their USA psychedelic namesakes. From Home To Home is a good collection of nicely orchestrated typically English quality songwriting with more than a touch of toyshop Brit-psych left over from the previous decade. Another quality textured cover design from Keef.

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Gracious! - Gracious!

Does the band name include the !, or i…

Vertiginous Musings - Part One

My pride and joy is my small but perfectly formed record collection, which consists of around 1000 fragrant slabs of vinyl. The sun around which it all spins on the turntable of life (woah, blimey!) is the section reserved for albums released on the famous Vertigo "swirl" or "spiral" label, the underground subsidiary of Philips, set up in the hope of rivalling Island, Harvest, Deram etc in the burgeoning underground rock scene of the time. No genres back then, it was "underground" or "pop"...ah, simple times!

The first proper record collecting I did was as an almost-teen in early 70s Wellingborough, a sleepy little town in a sleepy little county hidden in the middle of our then sleepy sceptered isle. Tucked away on the periphery of the town centre was a seedy department store-come-supermarket run by a local chancer. The store was located at the back of the town cattle market, itself the site of much childhood nefarious activities, and if you vi…

"Sing" spelt backwards is "Gnis"

There are quite a few bands around that might be described as "Marmite" - note for non-Brits, it means you love them or can't stand them, the usual reaction to the tangy yeast-extract paste of the same name. Some who don't know what they're missing would describe VdGG and even the mighty Crim thus. For me it's Rush and Dweem Thweeter...I'd rather skick pins in my ears. Anyway, another "Marmite" are Cardiacs. For years I've tried to like them and failed. It's not that I can't stand them, it's simply that their impenetrably dense sound has never let me in despite my past attempts at meekly knocking on the door, rising to vainly attempting to pick the lock, and finally a futile try at simply kicking the bleedin' door in.

That was until a week or so ago, when I got hold of a copy of their magnum opus Sing To God. You see, I like to keep plugging away at bands I don't understand. The penny has dropped!

Sing To God is, as I'…