Monday, February 28, 2005

Family Way soundtrack - Paul McCartney and George Martin

An album that didn't quite make it onto my Beatles page was the soundtrack for the 1966 British film The Family Way, which starred Hayley Mills. The original soundtrack album was a 24-minute set of orchestral pieces composed by Paul McCartney, arranged by George Martin and performed by the George Martin Orchestra. Some people (though not I) would argue that this is really the first Beatles solo album, instead of George Harrison's Wonderwall Music. It's not bad for what it is, but it doesn't sound that much different from Side Two of the original Yellow Submarine album. Only a few of the 13 tracks (the seventh and ninth, for example) are likely to be of any interest to rock enthusiasts. In 2003, the Family Way soundtrack was issued on CD in Canada by the XXI label, with two bonus sections: new recordings of the music by Carl Aubut and the Claudel String Quartet (recorded in 1995) and new flute arrangements by Anthony Rozankovic (recorded in 1999). Neither of these bonus features are very interesting.

Update: The Family Way soundtrack was reissued on CD and mp3 by the Varese Sarabande label in 2011. In 2015, the soundtrack was made available on limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Soundtrack from "Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush" (1968)

An album that didn't quite make the Steve Winwood page was the 1968 soundtrack album for Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush, a British teen-sex comedy based on an early novel by official Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. The soundtrack contained eight songs by the Spencer Davis Group, but they were mostly from the post-Winwood version of that group. It also contained three Traffic songs (the title song, "Utterly Simple", and "Am I What I Was Or Was I What I Am"), all of which are available on the first two Traffic albums. So, although the album is out of print, it really doesn't contain any Winwood-related rarities. The other four of the fifteen tracks include an interesting psychedelic item called "It's Been A Long Time" by Andy Ellison (who was lead singer of John's Children) and three dialogue clips from the film.

Without Winwood, the Spencer Davis Group weren't bad, but they were strictly average. The songs they did for this soundtrack are listenable, but undistinguished and very dated. It is interesting to hear those Traffic songs mixed in with the SDG tracks; Winwood did indeed move on to more sophisticated territory.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

David Gilmour at 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival

"In 1970 I went as a punter, but was rowed in by Charlie Watkins to help mix (Jimi) Hendrix's sound. A photograph of me at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 was in a Sunday paper, possibly The Sunday Times, within the last year, in an article about 60s fashion, although they did not realise it was me." - David Gilmour of Pink Floyd in a letter to Vic King, Isle of Wight Rock Archives.

I find this quote by Gilmour interesting. The instrumental version of "Amazing Grace" that played over the PA system at that festival was played by someone called the Great Awakening, which Relix magazine said was "rumored to consist of a well-known but mysterious guitarist". Could that guitarist have been Gilmour? I think he may have been, because the guitar sound on that recording reminds me of the guitar sound on Pink Floyd's 1971 album Meddle. This is only speculation on my part. Does anyone know if I'm right or wrong?

9/23/14 update: I've finally learned that my theory was incorrect. The All Music Guide website now offers this information:

This little-known band made a brief impression in 1969 with an outstanding instrumental version of ‘Amazing Grace’, long before Judy Collins popularized the song. The mantra-like fuzz guitar added a spiritual quality that was missing from later versions. So little was known of the group that they were often referred to as Amazing Grace, and the song as ‘The Great Awakening’! For years it was thought that the man responsible was guitarist David Cohen from Country Joe And The Fish; others suggested it was by members of the Band. Later it was discovered that it was a different David Cohen, helped out by Joe Osborn (bass) and Jimmy Gordon (drums). The latter Cohen has worked as session guitarist for Bobby Darin, Tim Hardin and Frank Sinatra.

Sorry I couldn't provide this information sooner.

Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #7: Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970:

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Go Too (1977)

Go Too was the second and final studio album from Stomu Yamashta's Go project. I didn't review this album on the Steve Winwood page because Winwood was not involved with it. I don't think it rates its own spotlight review page, either. So I'll just say here that the album is disappointing, but not uninteresting. The main problem with it is that the Go sound became disco-oriented. The album isn't hard on the ears, but it only retains a fraction of the first album's spacey atmosphere. It doesn't have detailed credits like the first album did, but it sounds like there were numerous vocalists this time out, including one female (Linda Lewis). One of the male vocalists was Jess Roden, who was the first lead singer of the Butts Band with Robby Krieger and John Densmore. He is adequate as a singer, and he does well on the song "Mysteries Of Love", but he's no substitute for Winwood, any more than he was for Jim Morrison. It's still good to hear musicians like Al DiMeola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve work together on this type of project. But this album doesn't hold a candle to Go or Go - Live From Paris.

Go Too (Arista AB 4138):

Track Listing:

1. Prelude
2. Seen You Before
3. Madness
4. Mysteries Of Love
5. Wheels Of Fortune
6. Beauty
7. You And Me
8. Ecliptic

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Stomu Yamashta's Go on limited edition CD

Speaking of the Steve Winwood page: the studio album and the live album from Stomu Yamashta's Go project which I reviewed on that page are being offered on CD in one limited edition set from Hip-O Records. The set is limited to a mere 2500 copies, and is priced at $39.99. Here is the info:

As far as I know, this is the first time these much-bootlegged albums have ever been legitimately available on CD. And, after that small number of copies is gone, who knows if it won't be the last time?