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Yet More One Album Wonders

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 22, 2014 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Here is an additional edition of my series of great, mostly obscure, one album wonders. In the album era (roughly the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s), the album was the dominant format of recorded music expression and consumption. It seems that most musicians from that era, if able to scrape together the funds for the recording of one studio album, generally returned with at least one more.  Some, like Sun Ra, somehow released more albums than I've had hot dinners. Even most excellent bands, in my opinion, would have done well to find something other to do with their time rather than keep making records after their fifth album or twelfth year (although there is the Go-Betweens Exception). The following acts mostly date from the Golden Age of the LP -- and yet were unable or unwilling, in all cases, to record more than one. 

*****

ORGANISATION - TONE FLOAT (1969)

Organisation - Tone Float

Although most musicians associated with the Krautrock scene usually argue that it didn't even exist as such except in the collective conscious of British music critics, on first spin of Organisation's sole album, Tone Float, the discerning listener will have little doubt that the album is a product of late-1960s/early-1970s Dusseldorf

Heading Organisation were Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter, who famously went on to form Kraftwerk and have almost as famously been unfairly sniffy about their excellent pre-Autobahn output. Organisation's only album was produced by Konrad "Conny" Plank and, since its 1970 release by RCA Victor, has long been out-of-print. The other members of Organisation were Basil Hammoudi, Butch Hauf, and Fred Monicks. After the band's disorganisation Hammoudi joined another one album wonder, Ibliss, who released Supernova in 1972. 

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More One Album Wonders

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 21, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. In that era, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album. Here's Part II of a look at some of my favorite "one album wonders."



MICHAELANGELO - ONE VOICE MANY (1971)

Michaelangelo - One Voice Many


Michaelangelo were a Greenwich Village-based psychedelic folk-rock group led by Angel Petersen (but credited simply as “Angel”) who wrote the group's music and played electric autoharp -- an instrument popularized within the folk-rock scene by Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian. Rounding out the band were Michael John HackettRobert Gorman, and Steve Bohn. After attracting interest from producer Rachel Elkind and composer Wendy Carlos, what proved to be Michaelangelo's solitary album, One Voice Many, was released by Columbia. It incorporates a variety of influences that give the band a unique sound but one that might appeal to fans of Pidgeon and Renaissance (and not just because both used autoharps as well). Apparently the excellent album was poorly promoted which accounted for its poor sales and the group's subsequent disbandment. However, it clearly found its way to some fans over the years, as in 1992 the band Golden Smog included a cover of their song, 
"Son (We've Kept the Room Just the Way You Left It)" as the lead track on their EP, On Golden Smog. In 2009 it was released on CD by Rev-Ola.


One Album Wonders

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 15, 2014 04:14pm | Post a Comment
The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. In the album era, for a variety of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album. Here's Part I of a look at some of my favorite "one album wonders."

*****


THE FIREBIRDS - LIGHT MY FIRE (1968)

The Firebirds - Light My Fire


In 1968 a group of studio musicians who cut a collection of songs as The Firebirds as a cash in for budget label, Crown Records, "king of the junk record labels" (not their slogan but an apt description). It was joined by the label's Hey Jude, credited to Underground Electrics, and Hair, credited to 31 Flavours -- all of which were recorded anonymously and might very well have been a product of the same musicians. Theses sorts of cheapie cash-ins used to be a dime a dozen but they're almost never performed as well as here, where the faceless group of unknowns bash out some stoned immaculate heavy psych and acid rock of the brown variety.




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The Moon missions and the children of Major Tom -- the end of the space age and the music that followed

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 20, 2009 03:58pm | Post a Comment
first moon landing

It's the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, and looking back at that achievement it's obvious that one of the many repercussions was evinced in the music of the era. In addition to the space rock of bands like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind and sci-fi minded funk acts like Funkadelic, the glam rock scene, which exploded around the same time, is one of the most obvious manifestations. For a couple of years, glam rock was massively popular in several countries and it spawned hordes of mylar-and-make-up-wearing rockers singing about extraterrestrial love and lonely planet boys. On December 7, 1972, the Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon and the space age, shortly after, seems to have drawn quietly to a close. Glam rock seemed to fizzle shortly afterward, but maybe it just went underground, seeking out new frontiers in a different set of clothes.



First, in 1973, David Bowie retired his extraterrestrial Ziggy Stardust and released Aladdin Sane. Although hardly a radical departure, it was famously hyped as "Ziggy goes to America" and represented Bowie's efforts to move in a new direction. Then, in early 1974, glam rock's creator Marc Bolan announced that "Glam rock is dead." His February release, Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow - A Creamed Cage in August, was described by its creator as "cosmic soul." Bowie described his next direction as "plastic soul" shortly afterward. Glam's two most important stars seemed committed to moving on in spirit, if perhaps overstating the change in their music.

Glam & Glitter Christmas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 24, 2008 10:15am | Post a Comment

 Marc Bolan Santa Claus

I'm not
sure what it is about Glam Rock and Christmas but I've always appreciated how many contributions to the Christmas song canon have big drums, fuzzy sax and '50s via the '70s Yuletide vibes.


My vote for the best Glam Rock Christmas song goes, hands down, to Slade with their never-tiresome-no-matter-how-many-times-you-hear-it classic, the misspelling free "Merry Xmas everybody."



 

Sadly, there's no proper footage of T. Rex's "Christmas bop" but you can just imagine Marc and Gloria Jones frolicking in the... snow.


 

No doubt eager to cash in on the success of Wizzard and Slade's Christmas successes, the less-inspired but still enjoyable Mud give us this Showaddywaddy-esque version of "Lonely this Christmas."

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