Noise-some Notes: 30th March 2014

Don Airey: Hilarious
Don Airey: Hilarious

More in-my-ears action! Can you handle it?

Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery I do have a lot of time for ELP but for some reason I really struggle with this album. And it’s weird because this is often cited as their classic but I don’t think it’s as good as any of the albums that preceded it, which all knock this into a cocked hat. It certainly has its moments but Benny the Bouncer is just awful and Still… You Turn Me On is a great tune frustratingly hobbled by pish lyrics. “Someone get me a ladder”. Someone get him a rhyming dictionary!

Rainbow – Difficult to Cure All deference to the Dio years but this is my favourite Rainbow album these days. Spotlight Kid deserves a special mention for its… um… Russian bit. And the most hilarious keyboard solo of all time, courtesy of Don Airey.

Hell – Curse and Chapter This narrowly missed out on winning my private “Top album of 2013” spot but after this week’s listen I’m thinking this is the album that will endure the most in my affections. The astounding Darkhangel easily takes last year’s top song spot though.

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones The debut of Tom G. Warrior’s post-Celtic Frost band is a strong album but it lives in the shadow of CF’s towering Monotheist as far as I’m concerned. I’ve heard a couple of tracks, Breathing and Boleskine House, from the upcoming Melana Chasmata though and it looks like this band is going to keep going from strength to strength.

Samhain – Final Descent The final Samhain album is well worth investigating for Danzig fans as the second half features early versions of some songs that would appear on the 1st Danzig outing. There is also an early stab at Elvis’ Trouble with some bizarre keyboard playing. ELP, Spotlight Kid and now this! It seems to be a week for the keyboards.

Pantera – Far Beyond Driven Famously the most extreme album to top the Billboard chart. The real horror here though is the stark realisation that Phil Anselmo has sex. It’s enough to put you off your dinner. Although, in fairness, it sounds like everyone involved was fairly out of it. What’s the drug equivalent of beer goggles?

King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet A brilliant debut but, strangely, my enjoyment of it has never transferred into investigating the rest of their career. I have Gretchen Goes to Nebraska on standby though. I’ll get round to that eventually.

Rod Stewart – Storyteller (Disc 1) This opening disc from the Storyteller Box Set has a real evolutionary feel to it. Pre-fame stabs at Blues and Soul make way for the Jeff Beck Group’s proto-Metal before the great man finds his own identity as a solo artist and with The Faces. An engaging Sunday morning listen while I adjust to British “Summertime”.

Blue Öyster Cult– Spectres Obviously this band had talent and brilliant material to spare but I’m always most impressed by Albert Bouchard’s songs and vocals. Fireworks is a great example here with its enigmatic lyrics and blissful melody. I think he was the band’s secret weapon. Discuss.

Entombed – Left Hand Path A bit of old-school brutality to finish the week off. Ultra-heavy stuff but skilfully arranged, leaving enough space for the songs and riffs to breathe. Death Metal doesn’t get much better than this.

SONG OF THE WEEK Just for the sheer, giddy excitement it induced… and that keyboard solo… I’m going to have to go for Rainbow’s Spotlight Kid. Insanity and genius.

[Rainbow – Spotlight Kid]

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27 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes: 30th March 2014”

      1. Yes, Tarkus & Trilogy are the best they did. And I agree so much about Emerson’s annoying love of honkytonk. I was record shopping one day and came across an imported solo album that only had the outside cover info it was Keith Emerson, and it was done in his studio in Nassau. Paid rather a steep price, when I opened the shrinkwrap at home, I was PISSED to discover it was ALL honkeytonk piano, and mostly poorly recorded, like he did it drunk. The inside cover had a pic of him naked in a tub with a baby shark!! Wound up flogging it off to a fellow keyboard player who, sorry to say, had a taste for honkytonk (otherwise an intelligent man).
        Also; HUGE Don Airey fan, great choice. Tried playing the song, but player didn’t work for me, bummer.

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      2. I’ve not bought any Emerson solo stuff, I’ll know not to now! I see there is a box of his soundtrack work coming out though. That might be interesting… as long as there is no honky tonk! I really wanted to like The Nice too but I just couldn’t get into them.

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      3. I’ve got his soundtrack for Stallone’s “NightHawks”; other than main theme, pretty tedious stuff, don’t know if I would gamble on any others. I’m guessing Brian Jackson’s singing turned you off The Nice LOL? I really love Emerson’s organ work then- no synths or spinning pianos, or pyrotechnics, just awesome playing. Their version of Bernstein’s “AMERICA” rocks, I’ve got both studio and live versions. Also “Five Bridges/Elegy” with the orchestra is cool.

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      4. Yes it was Brian’s singing that spoiled things for me. I’d heard some instrumental tracks and particularly loved the version of America but I just couldn’t get into the tracks with vocals at all! Greg Lake was a big improvement!

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      5. Haha I can believe that. I’m actually amazed he managed to get a singing gig after The Nice! I guess no one in Refugee had heard him before? Pat Moraz… is that the guy that played with Yes on Relayer? That’s a brilliant album.

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      6. Refugee was just new name of The Nice- after Emerson left, Jackson was band leader, guess drummer Davison didn’t have balls to say no, and Moraz was the young “new guy” (he’s F’n BRILLIANT on that album, some of his best stuff, too bad there’s singing on it). Pat left after one album to join Yes, and “Relayer” is fantastic. Unfortunately he jumped ship to replace Mike Pinder in The Moody Blues, where he didn’t have the freedom to display his awesome skills. He also had a group off and on over the years with fellow Swiss Jean Ristori called MAINHORSE, album highly recommended.

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  1. Spotlight Kid is awesome, great selection. I just listened to that album a couple weeks ago actually! And in a week or two I’ll be reviewing Finyl Vinyl.

    Interesting that you never explored King’s X beyond the first album. I’m quite fond of their mid period — Dogman through to Tape Head.

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    1. Cool. I don’t have Finyl Vinyl, that’ll be an interesting read. I only really got into that King’s X album a few years back so I suppose it’s still early days. I’ll probably just work through the albums in chronological order.

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      1. They also have a good Best Of with rare tracks. Well worth having for the live Woodstock 94 version of Over NY Head. Dug goes in a big long confessional about his grandma, and childhood…very powerful.

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  2. Dammit man, you trying to overwhelm us? It’s only been a week since your last missive and you’ve already filled your ears with all that! That is a whole lotta greatness. I don’t know from ELP, but what I’ve heard of Rainbow pleased me greatly. My buddy blasted some of the Pantera for me in the killer sound system in his Shelby Mustang. Yeah, he’s got all the toys. It sounded great – could even be heard over that friggin’ engine!
    Truly impressive week. I like your format, a paragraph for each and carry on. I tried that on the KMA in the past, enjoyed it. Well done!

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