Tag Archives: Classic Rock

Some Solid Copenhagen Sound

Today a look at a Danish band “The Sandmen”, the band was formed in Copenhagen 1985, with album debut in 1987. Including some breakups and makeups and some line-up changes the band is still active. Even though their record company at the time A&M send them on a promo tour in 1989 to Canada and the USA, they never made it big outside Denmark.

The English guitarist  Sam Mitchell born in Liverpool joined The Sandmen in 1988, and was an important part of the sound in their prime years until 1995. Mitchell had previously played on Rod Stewarts Gasoline Alley (1970) and Every Picture Tells a Story (1971). After the breakup he was weakened by tuberculosis and died in 2006 only 56 years old.

The Sandmen’s last album came out in 2014 for the first time the band changed their language to the native tongue, but the sound was pretty much the same, a good solid classic rock with a drop of psychedelia.

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For Mad Men Only

May Blitz was a short lived Rock trio, created back in 1969. After playing live for a while on pubs and other small venues in UK, and going through some personal changes, they got a record deal with Vertigo. At this point the group was Canadian singer and guitarist Jamie Black, Canadian bassist Reid Hudson and Brittish drummer Tony Newman, know at the time for his work with Jeff Beck, Donovan and later playing with names like David Bowie, Allan Clarke (The Hollies), Joan Armatrading, David Coverdale, ect.

From – May Blitz (1970)

May Blitz deliver a nice stoner rock, rooted in heavy blues, in a tradition not unlike Jimi Hendrix or Cream.
The sound is pretty good for albums from this period, and there is a nice mix of genre elements on the albums. On the negative side some may find their style a bit loose and Jammy, compared to other Rock bands in the early 70’s, who was often moving towards a more “restricted” and “composed” Rock style at this point. Anyway, no matter if You think it was deserved or not, they did not do well commercially, and after their second album with the clever title “The 2nd Of May”, they disbanded. The two Canadians vanished from the annals of Rock history, as mentioned above Tony Newman, continued his career as drummer.

From – The 2nd Of May (1971)

“Church Of Misery” Released a cover of May Blitz “For Mad Men Only”, as a bonus track for their 2004 album, The Second Coming. “Church Of Misery” is a Japanese band from Shinjuku, Tokyo, formed in 1995, playing Doom Metal, with influence from early 70’s Heavy and Psychedelic Rock. They are Known to almost always write songs about serial killers and mass murder.

Church Of Misery – For Mad Men Only

The Wild and beautiful Child – Savage Rose

Savage Rose in my book, is the most interesting band, to ever come out of Denmark, and the vocals performed by Annisette is simply world class. Even though Annisette’s husband Thomas Koppel suddenly past away in 2006, Annisette and Savage Rose, is still active, and a new album will be out in 2014.

From Black Angel 1995

The Savage, was formed in 1967
At the age of 18 Thomas Koppel ‘s wrote a Hans Christian Andersen opera ‘A MOTHER’S TALE’, and became a sensation for it’s dramatic power and professionalism, vocal knowledge, and sophisticated orchestration. A MOTHER’S TALE was performed by THE ROYAL OPERA for two consecutive seasons. During his teens and earliest twenties Thomas Koppel’s musical compositions developed into larger, important orchestral works, performed by major orchestras and soloists. In 1968 at the age of 24 he’s had become so influenced by the “beat” music of the 60’s, that he decided to form the Savage Rose. He was the major force behind the band to his death in 2006.

The original Savage Rose made 6 albums, the last “Dødens Triumf” (triumph of death) an instrumental (with one song) ballet, The ballet, became the biggest success ever of The Royal Ballet – a sell-out over 30 years now, with performances as far as at the The Metropolitan in New York. With more than 250,000 sold, The CD/LP is one of the biggest selling mostly instrumental records ever in Scandinavia. The theme song has newly been re-released in the US by Rhino Records.

From Dødens Triumf (1972)

The original band split up, Savage Rose recorded the gospel/jazz-albummet “Babylon”, with help from Jazz saxophonist Ben Webster. After this they put together yet another Rock band, and recorded Wild Child the last “English” vocals Album, for a long time to come.

From Wild Child 1973

Savage Rose (mainly Thomas & Anisette) had lost interest in the Record Industry. They stil play music, but now free concerts in small communities of Copenhagen, had become their focus, and the song writing was now by Annisette in Danish. From 1978 – 1994 Savage Rose made recordings again, all of them in Danish, and with a much more acoustic sound than before. The Lyrics are increasingly political, as everything else about Savage Rose, actively denying themselves any major income from their art, living in the Slums of Copenhagen, when not touring Europe.

From Savage Rose 1968

In 1995 they sign a contract with Mega Records, and trough contacts in Copenhagen met with George Duke (Yes that GD). Thomas and Annisette moved to Los Angeles, where George produced
Black Angel. Savage Rose had changed a lot, the sound was American Jazz, Soul, Reagge but never the less it was somehow still very much Savage Rose. The record becomes a major hit in Denmark. Putting Savage Rose back up where they were in the early 70’s. I have seen Savage Rose life several times and nothing is as touching and beautiful as Annisette singing.

From Love And Freedom 2012

Billion dollar Horror Baby

Glam Rock part IV
In the late 60’s early Seventies Alice Cooper got the idea of an atypical glam rock approach, a horror movie inspired Shock Glam Show and image, they impressed Frank Zappa at an audition, and got a record deal on his label. Alice Cooper released two unsuccessful albums, “ We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love”.
Billion Dollar Babies 1973

Their 3.rd album “Love it to Death” 1971, was a change in style, from a Pink Floyd inspired psychedelic style of rock, they changed into a short track rock style, more in line with the style of Rolling Stones, The Who or even Beatles. The album became them their first hit, with single “I’m Eighteen”, and now Alice Cooper got a gigger contract, had developed a full blown Horror stage show, and continued to have successful albums and singles, first a major single hit with School’s Out, from 1972, the year after a major album hit with “Billion Dollar Babies” making album chart no.1 in both US and UK.
Schools Out 1972


At this point Alice Cooper was renowned for their stage shows, the combination of offensive lyrics, with undertones of sex and violence, combined with theatrical horror shows with torture instruments, beheaded mannequins and so on , Alice Cooper was as political incorrect as they could possibly by, making them just even more popular with the fans, and hated by the kids parents, not to mention everyone trying to make rock music serious and intellectual.
Steven, From Welcome to my Nightmare 1975

Alice Cooper made it look so easy, that we tend to forget how ahead of his (their) time this was, and how influential Coopers stage presence would be on generations to come, so many acts have taken inspiration from his stage shows, from Glam via Punk to Metal, many different bands have covered his songs, and even Bob Dylan have stated Alice Cooper to be an overlooked songwriter. Salvador Dali was a fan, and made a hologram : “first Cylindric Chromo-Hologram Portrait of Alice Cooper’s Brain”.

Wake the Dead from Along came a spider, 2008, (feat. Ozzy Osbourne) fan made video


Alice Cooper have continued creating albums and touring into the new millennium, he is also openly working with helping other Rock musicians out of drug and alcohol abuse.
From: Billion Dollar Babies 1973

Gila – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Could there be such a thing as 70’s Psychedelic, Americana, folk/Krautrock. It’s hardly an established genre, but there is this one album, by Gila. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.”

Gila was one of those lesser known German bands forming in late 60’s, to make just one album, Gila – Free Electric Sound (1971), an album of experimental Psychedelic/Stoner rock, sounding not unlike so many other German bands at the time. They disbanded in 1972.

In 1973 however the former Gila leader Guitarist and vocalist Conny Veit, reformed the band, with keyboard player Florian Fricke (Popol Vuh), drummer Daniel Fichelscher (Popol Vuh/Amon Dull II), and his girlfriend Sabine Merbach. Resulting in “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. The music is far from what you would expect if you know the first Gila album, not the typical experimental, partly improvised, Floyd inspired acid, you get from most Krautrock bands, it sounds more like the music coming out from US in late 60’s early 70’s, Crosby Stills…, Jefferson, that sort of thing, melodic, well produced, relative short songs. A wonderful Progressive Folk/Rock album, as unexpected as it was from a German outfit of established krautrockers.

The theme of Native Americans, fighting an uneven battle against the US, made a lot of sense, in a time where Vietnam was carpet bombed with napalm.
From: Gila – Free Electric Sound (1971)

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 2 1982

Still depressed by the fact that Mike Oldfield was now making horrible pop songs, I was still crawling around in the backrooms of the record store, trying to avoid any pictures of Michael Jackson and Duran Duran…..no just joking, had been a stream of good album in the early 80’s allready at this point, The Cure, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Simple Minds, Bowie, Talking Heads, the reformed King Crimson, made some of my all time favorite albums in this period.

1982 – Robert Plant – Pictures of Eleven
Robert Plants 1982 debut, was not as good or ”tough” as Led Zeppelin was, but I will pick that albums because that is a standart no one, NO ONE, will ever be able to hold against, anything would flop if Zeppelin was the standart to hold. Plant did in my opinion one of the best Rock albums of the early 80’s with his debut, his vocals are as good as ever, the songwriting is not bad, and sometimes you even get that Zeppelin vibe.

If I was in the mood for some, simple, straight forward, rock music of high standarts, there was not much to those from in the early 80’s, this is the one I would put on.

The Album did fairly well at the time, but if you look for it on all the ”top albums of the 80’s lists” its never there. Anyway i think is better music than Yazoo, Duran Duran or Adam Ant, unless I am dansing, and I am not dansing that many hours a day.

Slade – Hear Them Calling

Glam Rock part II,
One of the bestselling Glam Rock, bands in early 70’s was Slade, making lots of high charting singles and albums, 17 top 20 hits between 1971 and 1976, made them the band selling the most singles in UK during the 70’s.

Slade was the hard, raw garage sound, working class anti-intellectual and anarchistic attitude, Glam Rockers. A string of notable Punk/Metal/Grunge band members have been cited to have been influenced by Slade and Holders vocal style, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Clash, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard, Oasis, ect. ect. If Slade makes you think “Christmas” you missed out on some important classic albums !!, I suggest you start with “Slade Alive”

Ozzy Osbourne : “Noddy Holder’s got one of greatest voices in rock ever.”

In 1974 Slade made a film, Slade in flame, and a soundtrack album, even though today I may seem to hold some of Slade’s best tracks, it did not Peak as high on the charts as expected, and only one single “Far Far Away” was very successful. Noel Gallagher of Oasis claimed the track “How Does It Feel”: “one of the best songs written, in the history of pop, ever”. But at the time it only peaked at 15th on the charts.

After the film, Slade moved all their equipment to the US, aiming to make the break overseas by touring.
But they never did break the US, and lost their home base in the attempt. Later they had a comeback with a Heavy Metal following, again getting attention for their raw and clean cut energy as a live band, but that is another story.

The Makeup, The Music, The Boots, Bolan & Bowie

Glam, Part I
It is impossible to talk glam rock, without mentioning T.Rex first, due to the fact that it is widely accepted, that their performance on top of the pops march 1971, was the birth of the Glam rock scene. It seems not that “glam” when you look back at it, just a bit of glimmer beneath the eyes of Bolan.

But it took of very fast from there and soon the glam style was a lot more dominant in T.Rex performances.
Colorful clothes, heavy makeup and those awesome boots so popular in the early 70’s.

At this point David Bowie would combine his supreme songwriting, his ability to create a reliable stage persona, and taking the multi gender aspects of “Glam” to the extreme, launching the hugely successful “Ziggy Stardust Tour” 1972-1973 covering UK, US and Japan.

Bowie would become the most successful star of the glam era, as he would become the artist able to achieve major success both in UK and US, many other British glam stars would do well in Europe, but never make it in the US. Long after Glam had faded away Bowie have been able to reinvent his act, a living legend in music.

 

Revisited:

David Bowie (David Robert Jones)  passed away 10 January 2016.

Rest in peace.

Morning Dew: Nazareth, Gratefull Dead, Einstürzende Neubauten, Robert Plant, Bonnie Dobson.

Morning Dew is a folk song, but it has often been included in the repertoire of Rock bands. The song is about the last man and woman left alive after nuclear holocaust.
It first came to my attention in the early 70’s in this great, long version recorded by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, from 1971.

At that point the song was already famous and recorded in a number of variations, most notably by The Gratefull Dead, they had included it on their debut album from 1967, and continued to play it as a signature song on their shows.

German Experimental/Industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, known to use mixed metal percussion and building tools to create their noice rock, recorded another interesting version on their 1987 album “Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala”

Ex Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant, recorded Morning Dew for his 2002 solo album Dreamland, another beautiful version of the song.

The song was originally written by Canadian folk music singer and guitarist Bonnie Dobson 1961. First recorded for her 1962 live album, “At Folk City”

Bo Diddley – a song

“Bo Diddley” is a rhythm and blues/rock and roll song first recorded and sung by Bo Diddley in 1955, the song has no chord change. It became an immediate hit. It was Bo Diddley’s first recording and his first hit single. The Bo Diddley beat, which is essentially African, was to become a backbone in Rock n Roll.

In “The Animals” “story of Bo Diddley” (1964). Eric Burdon tells the story about this Rhythm, and how it developed into Rock n Roll, from Bo Diddley to Beatles and Stones.

It was used again by Punk Hardcore band “Husker Dü” on “Hare Krsna” from their 1984 album Zen Arcade, the same song as Bo Diddely, but with different lyrics, and played with a wild acid punk flavor.

Another version of the song can be heard on “Aksak Maboul”s “Un Peu De L’Ame Des Bandits” (1979), Aksak Maboul was a Belgian Avant-Garde band founded in 1977 by Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis. In this version the track is called “A Modern Lesson [Bo Diddley]”, it transforms from the Bo Diddley rhythm, into jazz inspired avant-garde.