I have been a loyal fan of The Yardbirds since the mid 1960’s. More than any other band of the time (I would say), they were part of the ‘scene’, and even made an appearance in the popular film of the time ‘Blow Up’. They had various lineups including Jeff Beck, but for me it was the Jimmy Page era that produced their finest work. In the mid 1990’s, founding members Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja reformed the band with a different line-up, fronted by the incredible vocalist John Idan. I saw them live about eight years ago and they were fabulous. This CD (a live recording), is worth a listen, before to dig into the band’s past glories.
The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix, the sky fell on my head and I was hooked forever. That’s probably just a little on the romantic side, but that’s exactly what it felt like back in the classroom in New Parks Boys School, watching the music teacher rip him off the turntable in disgust. Such was the tolarance and cultural diversity of a 1960’s secondary modern shit hole. If you’ve never heard the brilliance of Jimi Hendrix, this is the album to begin with for it’s the ‘Experience’ at it’s very best.
A recent aquistion to my collection, as I’m in the process of collecting all of Uriah Heep’s albums. This was their first release in 1970, which set the stage for heavy riffs and no-nonsense, stripped down beautifully raw heavy rock. They did amazingly well in America, went through many personnel changes, and are still around today. The remix of this album, with extra tracks has taken nothing away from my original enthusiasm I felt all those years ago, when I saw them perform at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, shortly after ‘Very Eavy, Very Umble’ was released.
Released several years ago after the death of original Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, ‘Now What’ acts as a fine tribute (I think), to one of Leicester’s finest and most talented sons. It was also the first Purple album to obtain a respectable chart position in the UK for many years, and is full of great hard rock sounds, equal in my view to their most well know tracks in the early 1970s’. We could be seeing the end of one of the greatest rock bands ever, for as I write, the rumors of the band retiring for good are widespread. However, their back catalogue (of all the different lineups) is well worth investigating.
Robert Plant’s ‘Band Of Joy’ is a very interesting album but I have to say it’s not a great favourite of mine. Too lightweight, and just a little bit self indulgent for my taste. Plant is without doubt one of the greatest vocalists of all time. His work with Led Zeppelin was always outstanding, same can be said for some of his solo work in the 1990’s, but this goes absolutely nowhere for me.
The story goes that Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan sat in a pub, somewhere in Oxfordshire, getting drunk with Black Sabbath axeman Tony Iommi, and the following day Gillan discovered that he’d joined Sabbath for a year!. True or not, the album that came from that particular lineup was not too well recieved at the time, but gained more respect over the last three decades. It sold quite well, but after a world tour, Gillan parted company leaving friend and foe alike wondering what could have been, if the Gillan/Sabbath collaboration had persevered. We will never know.
My first expereince of David Bowie was the 1967 single ‘The Laughing Gnome’, not the most inspiring of records, but it hooked me in. his debut album ‘David Bowie’ released the same year did have many hints of promise, and listening to it now, you can clearly see the makings of a music genius. It’s an interesting listen, and I would urge any fans of his more popular later work, to give it a try. It’s a CD I play on an Autum or Winter afternoon with a pot of tea, relaxing in my favourite chair. Very easy on the ears, I love it.