Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ten Years After - without Alvin Lee

This may not be news to some of you, since it began in September of 2002, but this has been below my Rarebird radar until recently. The '60's band Ten Years After reunited in 2002, but without their famed singer/guitarist Alvin Lee. Lee has been replaced by a musician named Joe Gooch, who is in his late 20's. The other three original members (Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill, and Ric Lee) are on board.

I know, I shouldn't really be surprised. After all, my site discusses many cases where well-known members of well-known groups have been replaced. But TYA without Alvin Lee? Some people (though not I) think that Alvin Lee was Ten Years After. When people think of TYA's 11-minute performance of "I'm Going Home" in the Woodstock movie, it is generally Lee that they see and hear.

After TYA officially split in 1975, there were occasional reunions over the years. Up until 1999, every TYA reunion featured all four original members. Seeing this band replace its frontman 35 years after its original inception seems strange indeed.

This reunion has been a well-kept secret in America, because so far the band has only toured in Europe. They have recorded two CDs that have only been released in selected European countries, one live and one with all-new studio material. The latter album, titled Now, appears to have no distributor. Maybe they should sell it at CD Baby.

I've added reviews of these two albums, One Night Jammed (2003) and Now (2004) to my Ten Years After Page:

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Cure - Deluxe Edition CDs

Today, Elektra/Rhino Records released "Deluxe Edition" reissues of the second through fourth Cure albums. Those are Seventeen Seconds (1980), Faith (1981), and Pornography (1982). Each one is a 2-CD set containing a remastered version of the original album plus a bonus disc containing bonus tracks selected by Robert Smith (mostly consisting of live, demo, and alternate versions of songs from the album). It makes sense that the three of them were released in one day; those albums are considered an unofficial trilogy of downbeat works, each one darker than the previous one.

Elektra/Rhino recently gave the same treatment to the first Cure album, Three Imaginary Boys, from 1979. That album was technically unavailable in the U.S. until then; the American version was titled Boys Don't Cry, and contained a few different songs. I wonder if Smith and the record companies plan to continue reissuing the Cure's albums in this format. Their next two full-length albums were Japanese Whispers (1983) and The Top (1984), both of which are currently out of print in the U.S. It's hard to believe there could be enough bonus material to complement these two albums in such a way, but I could be wrong. Heck, there was actually a 4-CD box set of Cure B-sides and rarities recently issued (titled Join The Dots), so there seems to be a bottomless well of Cure rarities that can be unearthed.

Of the three Deluxe Editions released today, the one I find most interesting is Faith. That contains the Carnage Visors EP at the end of disc one. That consists of a single 27-minute instrumental that was recorded to accompany a short film that the brother of bassist Simon Gallup worked on. It's an absorbing mood piece that was previously only available in the U.S. as part of a double-length cassette version of Faith. It's nice to see it available on a CD. Also, the Faith reissue contains the non-LP single "Charlotte Sometimes", which is otherwise only available on the Staring At The Sea singles collection.

Rarebird's Cure Reviews

The Acid Casualties w/Robby Krieger

An obscure album remotely related to the Doors' history is Panic Station, the only album recorded by a short-lived progressive rock band called the Acid Casualties in 1982. Doors guitarist Robby Krieger played on four of the album's eight tracks. The main quartet consisted of singer/bassist Mark Avnet (who worked on Krieger's 1983 solo album Versions), synthesizer player Arthur Barrow (who also played on Versions and on all of Krieger's later solo studio albums), guitarist Lou Maxfield (who had previously played with Joan Jett's Blackhearts), and drummer Tom Brown. They were not exactly the type of psychedelic band that their name suggested; such a band would have been anachronistic in 1982. They were more of a Pink Floyd-type space-rock band, but they didn't have the Floyd's ability to create effective moods or otherworldly soundscapes. They actually covered the obscure early Floyd single "Point Me At The Sky", as well as the early T. Rex song "Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart". On the four tracks he plays on, Krieger adds spacey slide guitar effects. Otherwise, Barrow's synthesizer sounds are the only standout feature of this otherwise undistinguished prog-rock venture.

The Acid Casualties Panic Station (Rhino RNLP 850) 1982

Track Listing:

1. Point Me At The Sky
2. Shadow Street *
3. Canyons Of Your Mind
4. Solid Sound *
5. Armies Of The Sun/The Battle*
6. Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart (Funny How The Day Comes)
7. She's A Lost Soul *
8. Floating

* with Robby Krieger

The Acid Casualties - Panic Station

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #8

Finally! After about seven months of dragging my feet, I've finally added another spotlight album review. Here it is:

This group and album went by unnoticed in 1980, but the Distractions' Nobody's Perfect is one of rock's great lost treasures. It's not likely to ever be reissued, but there's always hope. It's an album worth discovering.