Sorry about the delay with this newsletter / play list. Our lines were down due to the tremendous amount of rain we’ve had these past few weeks!
Thanks to Rockfest presenter, Mike Tymvios, who has a show on Friday nights between 11pm and 01am, there’s a very good chance that 93.8FM might soon been broadcasting via audio streaming – I will keep you informed as to developments as they are known. This is an exciting development for 93.8FM, and the station is very grateful to Mike for his help with this.
If you haven’t bought your tickets for the Masters Of Rock concert, featuring Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash, in late May, you need to move your butt – the tickets are selling pretty well! Thanks to Benjy Mudie, who is involved with the concert, I might be doing some live and telephonic interviews with Ian Gillan, Andy Powell and Mick Box, which you will be able to hear on The RockIt Scientist.
Remember that The RockIt Scientist is broadcast on 93.8FM every Monday night, between 9pm and midnight (this might be changing shortly – will keep you informed). Talking about interviews, had an excellent chat with talented blues/rock singer, Kathy Raven, about her career, gigs and her album, this past Monday. There’s also a possibility that she may be joining The Rockfest as a presenter.
Kevin Flee is no longer on the station (Monday midnight to 02am) – 93.8FM acknowledges and appreciates his contributions to The Rockfest., and Jurgen Becker may have to vacate his Wednesday 10 to midnight slot for a while due to work commitments.
If you listened to The RockIt Scientist on “those other radio stations” in the past, you might recall that I had quite an extensive website that was updated and maintained by Brian Currin. I’ve decided to “revive” that website, and Brian will shortly be making changes to it, in addition to adding current newsletters / play lists. If you’re keen to read up the old play lists, band biogs, recommendations, etc, etc, please visit the site. You’re also welcome to send me details of your top albums, guitarists, drummers, etc, and I’ll have them posted on the site
There have been a number of people wanting to know about The Rockfest, what it is, how it started, etc etc. If you check out the blog (www.rockfest.co.za), you’ll find a bit of history explaining the whole thing.
The RockIt Scientist – Play list – Monday 25 January – 21h00 to midnight
01. Blindside Blues Band – Raised on Rock, from “Raised On Rock”. 2010 – Grooveyard Records (stunning new album from guitarist/vocalist Mike Onesko, and featuring Emery Ceo on drums, Scott Johnson on guitar and Kier Staeheli on bass. This is the 8th studio album from Mike Onesko and the Blindside Blues Band, and it’s one of their best. Onesko is a highly regarded guitarist who sets high standards and has released albums under his own name as well as that of the Blindside Blues Band. One of the great, and essential, guitar albums to add to the collection. I’d previously featured a track fro the album prior to it’s release, erroneously calling the title of the album “World On Fire” – Apologies – my error – the correct title is “Raised On Rock” – the perfect title of an album with which to start a show like The RockIt Scientist!)
02. Dirty Dave Osti – Lit Again, from “Voodoo Guitar” 2010 – Grooveyard Records (one thing about Joe@Grooveyard, he sure has a knack, and an ear, for signing some really great guitarists to his label! Don’t know too much about this Los Angles based guitarist, but he’s seriously hot! Killer blues-based hard rock with some fantastic riffs. This power trio is made up of Dave Osti on guitar and vocals, Dave Batti on bass and Moyes Lucas on drums).
03. Hookfoot – Here I Come, from “Live In Memphis, USA,1972” 1972 – World Wide Records (Hookfoot were an excellent blues-based rock outfit, formed in the UK in 1969, out of the ashes of The Loot. The original members, Caleb Quaye on guitars, Ian Duck on guitars, vocals and harmonica, Roger Pope on drums and Dave Glover on bass, released their self-titled debut album in May 1971. All of the band members had previously worked on albums by Elton John and other DJM Records artists, almost being the “house band” for the label. A few line-up changes were made and a further three albums, plus a highly sought-after compilation called “Headlines”, were released before the band split in 1974. This previously unreleased recorded-for-radio brilliant live album captures the raw energetic power of this sadly overlooked band, perfectly)
04. Steamhammer – Hold That Train, from “Mountains”. 1970 – B&C Records (although maybe not as revered as the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After, Savoy Brown and others, Steamhammer were just as important, making some very memorable contributions to the exciting blues/ rock scene that was starting to flourish in the UK in the late sixties/early seventies. Formed in Worthing, Sussex in the late 60’s, the band released their debut album in 1968. The original members of the band were the now late Kieran White, on guitar, vocals and harmonica, Mike Rushton on drums, Steve Davy on bass and vocals, Martin Pugh on vocals and guitars, and Mike Quittenton on guitar. Quittenton joined Rod Stewart’s band. Rushton was replaced by Mick Bradley, and Louis Cennamo replaced Steve Davy. The band released four brilliant albums before splitting in 1972, following the death of Mick Bradley, from leukemia, that year. Pugh and Cennamo went on to form supergroup Armageddon, and Pugh later appeared with 7th Order. Steamhammer certainly are a group well worth investigating).
05. Chicken Shack – You Know Could Be Right, from “Unlucky Boy”. 1973 – Deram Records (there was Clapton, there was Page. There was Simmonds and there was Beck. And there was also Stan “The Man” Webb, probably one of the UK’s best, and most underrated blues/rock guitarists. An exceptionally gifted songwriter and guitar player, Webb, together with drummer Al Sykes and bassist Andy Sylvester, formed Chicken Shack in Birmingham in the mid 60’s. Joined by vocalist Christine Perfect in 1967, and signing to Blue Horizon Records, the band released their debut album, “Forty Blue Fingers Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve”, in 1968. Perfect left in August 1969 to join husband-to-be John McVie in Fleetwood Mac. Although they were arguably never the same force, Webb soldiered on with various new members, releasing albums of a consistently high standard. This album, which featured Bob Daisley, from Aussie band Kahvas Jute, later to join Ozzy and others, on bass, Chris Mercer of John Mayall and Juicy Lucy fame on saxes, Tony Ashton, of Aston, Gardner and Dyke, on piano, and Paul Hancox on drums. The second album for Deram Records, it was a slight deviation from the full-on blues that the band was known for, but the “rockier” feel suited them perfectly. Stan Webb has continued to perform and record to this day, and hopefully the global acclaim that would appear to have eluded him for so long will be forthcoming soon. After all, he ain’t a spring chicken!!)
06. If – Borrowed Time, from “Not Just Another Bunch Of Pretty Faces”. 1974 – Gull Records (for me, one of England’s best ever bands, whether they were playing the jazz/rock that made them famous everywhere except in their home country, or the more rock-inclined material that made up the bulk of this, and the following album, “Tea Break Is Over, Back On Yer ‘eads”.. Formed in the late 60’s by sax player / flautist Dick Morrissey and sax player Dave Quincy, and featuring an awesome line-up that was comprised of Terry Smith on guitar, Dennis Elliott on drums, John Mealing on keyboards, JW Hodkinson on vocals and Jim Richardson on bass, If were huge in Germany and the US, often being compared to Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears and other similar bands. They released their debut album in 1970, and went on to release a further four albums with this line-up before major personnel changes occurred in 1973 when their “Double Diamond” album was released. Further line-up changes, with Morrissey being the only remaining original member, occurred when the now late Cliff Davies, drummer with Ted Nugent, bassist Walt Monaghan, ex-Freedom and Mick Abrahams Band, Gabriel Magno, keyboard player with the Amboy Dukes, together with ex-Roger Chapman guitarist Geoff Whitehorn, became what was to be the final line-up of this legendary band. They appeared on the band’s final two albums, both of which have excellent tracks, and are well worth checking out, as is every album ever released by If. Dennis Elliott became a founding member of Foreigner. Terry Smith and Dave Quincy formed Zzebra, JW Hodkinson had a stint with Darryl Way’s Wolf. John Mealing featured with Nucleus, and Dick Morrissey, who died in November 2000, joined Jim Mullen in the Morrissey Mullen Band).
07. Climax Blues Band – Mistress Moonshine, from “Shine On”. 1978 – Sire Records (one of the early bands of the British blues scene. Formed in Stafford in the UK in the late 60’s, they were initially known as Climax Chicago Blues Band, and their debut album released in 1969, was released under that name. After a minor issue with the US band Chicago over the name, the “Chicago” part was dropped and the band became known as Climax Blues Band, although they were also know as Climax Chicago.The initial line-up included Colin Cooper on sax and vocals, Peter Haycock on guitar and vocals, Derek Holt on bass, Richard Jones on bass and George Newsome, later replaced by John Cuffley, on drums. After a string of good but largely low key albums, they concentrated on the US market and did very well with “Couldn’t Get It Right”, probably their best known track, in 1976. Appearing on the album “Gold Plated”, this found the band flirting with funk more than with blues, and it worked well for them. They went on to record and perform well into the 80’s and 90’s, and are still around today. Sadly underrated, Climax Blues Band has released some really good material in their 40 year history and deserves a lot more attention. A track from their “Blues from the Attic” live album, recorded in the late 80’s, appears on the first Dinosaur Days CD, released in 1999. This album, incidentally, featured former NWOBHM band Demon’s guitarist, Les Hunt! Colin Cooper died in July 2008. The band is still performing to this day.).
08. Unicorn – Rat Race, from “Blue Pine Trees”. 1974 – Capitol Records (originally released in their home country on Charisma Records, the second album from this very pleasant UK country/folk band was probably the best of the four albums they released between 1971 and 1976. Formed by guitarist/vocalist/flautist Trevor Mee, drummer Peter Perrier, bassist Pat Martin and keyboard player/guitarist/vocalist Ken Baker, they released their excellent debut album, “Uphill All The Way’, in 1971. Pink Floyd’s guitarist, David Gilmour, played on some of their albums and produced some of their material).
09. Capability Brown – No Range, from “From Scratch”.1972 – Charisma Records (debut album from a fine band whose staple diet was mainstream rock with folk and prog leanings, not unlike early Rare Bird. They were another one of the many great bands doing the rounds in the UK who unfortunately released some great material, in their case on two albums and a compilation, but didn’t go too far. The featured track has some good flute work from guitarist/vocalist Tony Ferguson, evoking memories of the glory days of Gravy Train and Skin Alley. A sextet, the other members were Dave Nevis on keys, guitars bass and vocals, Graham White on vocals and guitars, Kenny Rowe on bass and vocals, Joe Williams on vocals and percussion and Roger Willis on drums, keyboards and vocals)
10. Them Crooked Vultures – Scumbag Blues, from “Them Crooked Vultures”. 2009 – RCA/Sony Music (Brand new band with the potential to get into the superglue league, super quick! Featuring drummer Dave Grohl, of Foo Fighters fame, with guitarist Joshua Home from Queens Of The Stone Age, together with veteran Zap bassist/keyboard player John Paul Jones, these guys are going to have the same impact as Chickenfoot, who won the prestigious Classic Rock Best New Band Award, had, in 2009. There’s something for everyone on this album. It’s accessible and commercial enough to easily find its way onto the charts, and onto radio, yet it’s also hard and bluesy enough to satisfy fans on the other side of the sphere. A band to watch with much interest).
11. Titanic –Tear Me Up, from “Ashes and Diamonds”. 2008 – Repertoire Records (the past ten years or so have seen many classic / legendary bands, such as Budgie, Juicy Lucy, Spooky Tooth and many others, reform, perform and release albums to satisfy the appetites of their legions of loyal fans. One such band is Titanic, one of the best bands to come out of Norway. Probably best known for their hits “Sultana”, “Rain 2000” and others, this very good band released a number of excellent albums that put them in the same league as many of their US, UK and other European contemporaries. Their music ranged from folk to heavy organ and guitar dominated prog, with some great vocals from Englishman Roy Robinson, with a bit of Latin percussion thrown in on the odd occasion. Basing themselves in France, and employing the services of a number of great French musicians, notably on the albums “Return Of Drakkar” and “Eye Of The Hurricane” in the late 70’s/early 80’s, Titanic enjoyed a period of relative fame, touring as far afield as Africa (not South Africa, unfortunately. We weren’t considered to be part of the world, in those dark days!). The band seemed to fold in the early 80’s. A frustratingly undated almost metal-ish album, “Lower The Atlantic”, featuring Robinson, together with original guitarist Jan Loseth, was released sometime in the early 90’s. It was actually quite a good album, but nothing further came of it and Titanic seemed to have sunk (sorry, couldn’t resist), once again. And then came the rains….I was overjoyed to read that the band had reformed and released a new album! Still featuring Roy Robinson and Jan Loseth, the new Titanic features Mick Walker on bass, Phil Wilton on sax and backing vocals, and Didier Blum on drums and backing vocals. It’s one of the better “reformation” albums that’ve been released in the last five years or so, and it demonstrates that the band have lost none of the class and quality that made them such a great band in their heyday. Who said Rock ‘n Roll is dead??)
12. Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion – Sandy Mary, from ‘’Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion”. 1971 – Repertoire Records (UK vocalist Cliff Bennett had previously been in Cliff Bennett And The Rebel Rousers, a rock’n roll/soul/R&B band, in the early to mid 60’s. Essentially a covers band, they became very popular and they appeared at many famous venues such as The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. They released a number of high charting singles as well as several albums before The Rebel Rousers ground to a halt in 1969. Bennett then formed The Cliff Bennett Big Band, complete with a great horn section. This band toured and performed for about a year before Bennett decided to try his hand in the hard rock/prog/blues field by forming Toe Fat, which featured future Uriah Heep members Lee Kerslake and Ken Hensley. Toe Fat released two good, and now quite collectible albums before splitting in 1971. Kerslake and Hensley left Toe Fat, and asked Bennett to join them in Uriah Heep. He declined, a big regret in his life. He then formed Cliff Bennett’s Rebellion, and this album, with John Gray on bass, Mark Kluczynski on harmonica and flute, Derek Weir on percussion and Robert Smith on guitar, was released. Bennett later formed a band called Shanghai, but nothing came of it, and he left the music industry. He was enticed to come back into the music scene, and in the early 2000’s, Cliff Bennett, one of the UK’s great vocalists, was back on track.
13. Sweathog – Hallelujah, from “Hallelujah”. 1972 – Retro Disc International (this was one of those “Have the first album, know the band, know of the album, but have never seen it on vinyl” situations. Until it was released on cd a few years ago, that is! On a Spanish label, of all things, too! The song titles are out of sync with the tracks, but what the heck – it’s just great to finally have and hear an album that’s eluded me for so many years! It was well worth the wait. Sweathog were a short–lived US blues rock outfit who released their debut album on CBS Records in 1971. In fact, a track from the album appeared on the CBS Compilation “Fill Your Head With Rock”. The members were Lenny Lee Goldsmith on keyboards and vocals, Dave Johnson on bass and vocals, Bob Jones on guitar and vocals, and Bartholomew “Frosty” Frost on drums. Highly recommended, there are elements of country, gospel, blues and hard rock on the album, with some great keyboard and guitar bits.
14. Bedlam – The Beast, from “Bedlam”. 1973 – Chrysalis Records (if you are a hard rock fan, this is one of those “must have” albums. From beginning to end, it’s everything and more you’d expect to hear on an early-70’s album that features world class drummer Cozy Powell, with production by Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi. Evolving out of a UK band called Big Bertha, which featured vocalist Peter French, later of Atomic Rooster, Leafhound, Cactus and Randy Pie fame, together with Dennis Ball on bass and vocals, and Dave Ball on guitar, they were joined by vocalist Frank Aiello, who had replaced original Big Bertha singer, David McTavish . The resulting album, the sole official studio recording, is considered by many serious fans to be one of the greatest rock albums to be released in the UK. Dave Ball’s guitar work is superb, as is Cozy Powell’s drumming, with Dennis Ball providing a solid bass line throughout. Aiello was a revelation – it’s a pity not much is known about his career. A live Bedlam album, as well as Bertha And Friends and Bedlam anthologies, are also available. Cozy Powell, one of the greatest and most respected drummers in the world, having worked with the likes of MSG, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake and a host of others, was killed in a car accident on April 5th, 1998)
15. Warhorse – Burning, from ‘‘Warhorse”. 1970 – Vertigo Records (As was the case with Bedlam, Warhorse were another fantastic British band that unfortunately didn’t last too long. Formed in the early 70’s by bassist Nick Simper, who had been a founding member of Deep Purple, they signed to the prestigious Vertigo label and released this awesome debut album in 1970. The initial line-up was Ashley Holt on vocals, Ged Peck on guitar, Frank Wilson on keyboards and Mac Poole on drums, together with Simper. They were apparently quite popular in Germany, where they toured regularly. Their second album, “Red Sea”, which featured new guitarist Peter Parker, was a lot more guitar orientated, and it featured a fantastic version of Shirley Bassey’s I (Who Have Nothing). Released in 1972, it proved to be the band’s final album, although some tracks for a mooted third album, produced by Yes’s Rick Wakeman, were recorded. These appeared as bonus tracks on later CD releases of the two aforementioned albums. Warhorse finally split in 1974. Nick Simper and Peter Parker formed Fandango, Ashley Holt joined Rick Wakeman’s band, Mac Poole was in Broken Glass. Nick Simper also appeared with the reformed Quartermass in the 90’s)
16. Argent – Be My Lover, Be My Friend, from “All Together Now”. 1971 – Epic Records (Argent were a keyboard and guitar-orientated rock/prog rock outfit put together by keyboard player Rod Argent, previously with The Zombies. Guitarist/vocalist Russ Ballard and drummer Rob Henrit, both previously with The Roulettes, and Rod Argent’s cousin, Jim Rodford, joined on bass. The self-titled debut album, released on CBS Records, was released in 1970. Rod Argent had established himself as one of the UK’s leading keyboard players, and this was pretty apparent on later albums, especially on the epic “Encore” double live album, released in 1974. They had a number of charting singles, the best probably being “Hold Your Head Up, which was covered by a number of other bands, notably Uriah Heep. Russ Ballard left the band to embark on a successful solo career in 1974. He was replaced by two guitarists, John Verity and John Grimaldi, both of whom appeared on Argent’s final two albums, “Circus” and “Counterpoint” in 1974 and 1975. Rod Argent also later embarked on a solo career).
17. Blindstone – Keep The Rock Alive, from “Rise Above”. 2010 – Grooveyard Records (Brilliant third album of killer guitar riffs from this Danish power trio. These guys have got the riff-thing down to a fine art, and they do it so well! The band is made up of Martin. J. Andersen on guitar and vocals, Jesper Bunk on bass and Anders Huidtfeldt on drums. The album also features guest appearances by Ty Tabor (of Kings X fame), and Danish guitarist Poul Halberg. Another excellent release from Grooveyard Records – www.grooveyard.com).
18. Mountain Of Power – Checkin’ It Out / Sister Madness, from “Volume Two”. 2010 – Grooveyard Records (The cover alone is worth the price of this awesome CD! Swedish power hard rock outfit, consisting of Janne Stark on guitar & bass, and TrumPeter Svensson and James Collins on drums. They deliver what must rate as one of THE guitar-based blues/hard rock albums of the year so far. It’s essentially an album of covers, by bands / artists as diverse as Pat Travers, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, ZZ Top, and, in the case of the featured track, Ozz, whose music is nigh impossible to find! Highly recommended)
19. Rhino Bucket – Justified, from “The Hardest Town”. 2009 – Acetate Records (some call them the US answer to AC/DC, which just about sums them up. This solid, riff heavy US outfit, who were formed in California, exploded onto the scene with their awesome eponymous album in 1990. They released two further albums before folding in the mid 90’s, only to re-appear 12 years later with their brilliant “And Then It Got Ugly” album, in 2006. One of the songs on this album, “Welcome To Hell”, featured in the movie “The Wrestler”. This great new album, which features Reeve Downes on bass, Georg Dolivo on guitar and vocals, Simon Wright on drums and Brian Forsythe on lead guitar, is perfect for getting into your car on a long journey, turning the volume up to full, and letting the music take you to Rock ‘n Roll heaven! They may not be as popular or as well known as AC/DC, but they sure give Angus and the boys a serious run for their money!)
20. Starz – Coliseum Rock / It’s A Riot, from “Coliseum Rock”. 1978 – Capitol Records (now here is a band who would appear to have been overlooked by many people who were into the great rock bands of the mid 70’s/early 80’s. Formed in the US in 1975, the initial members were bassist Peter Sweval, drummer Joey X Dube and guitarist Brendan Harkin. Recruiting vocalist Michael Lee Smith and second guitarist Richie Ranno, they secured a deal with Capitol Records, and their self-titled debut album was released to critical acclaim in 1976. They toured the US prolifically and even had a few minor hits, but success and major fame eluded them, and they folded in 1980, after having released four very good, but sadly overlooked albums. A number of live albums and compilations were issued in the mid to late 80’s. The band regrouped for a few concerts in 2005, and a double live album, “Come Out At Night – Live In Ohio”, was released in 2006. A really good band, they deserved more, and better.
Remember that much of the music featured on The Rockfest on 93.8 FM can be purchased at Look & Listen stores. If they don’t have it in stock, they can order it for you. Look & Listen has the widest range of cds, dvds, games and accessories.
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Have a good week!