DJTees Blog

This is where I indulge in my passions - VINYL & ROCK 'n' ROLL

Be Bop Deluxe Delights...

Be Bop Deluxe Delights...

Authored By John Nicholson

Unless you were a dedicated groover in the mid-seventies, BBD could have passed you by. From ‘74 to ‘78 they released 5 studio albums, a brilliant live album and compilations. Four albums made the charts, but the first Axe Victim didn’t.Initially they were part of glam rock’s more musical wing. Leader, Bill Nelson was and is a smoking guitarist, more lyrical than most. But it was the third Sunburst Finish which first charted and stands as their primo studio offering.The live album was recorded during the Modern Music tour and shows a tight band with a unique sound. Nelson is...

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Early Dead Albums...

Early Dead Albums...

Authored By John Nicholson

It all depends on which door you come into the Grateful Dead. If you're later to the party, and joined after Live/Dead, especially if your first exposure is Wake of the Flood (one of my personal favourites) you might love the jazz/folk tinge to their work, or if your point of entry is Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty they were a kind of more adventurous hip version of CSNY. But if you started your journey at the beginning, and you love the acid rock days, you will have had to go through a lot of assumptions of what the band...

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Quadraphonic Failure...

Quadraphonic Failure...

Authored By John Nicholson

For a time in the mid 1970s you were not taking audio seriously if you were not also releasing your albums in quad. It acquired status. The serious audiophile ensconced in a stores’ listening booth, stroked their chin and confirmed the superiority of the sound. I’ve got, by accident, some quad albums, including Chicago at Carnegie Hall. Despite claims to the contrary, now and then, I can't tell any difference. Admittedly I’ve always found those blokes (it’s always blokes) in the listening booths to be over precious. I have never been an audiophile wanting to listen to a perfect recording...

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Seeing Led Zeppelin Knebworth Festival August 4th 1979...

Seeing Led Zeppelin Knebworth Festival August 4th 1979...

Authored By John Nicholson

I don’t think I quite realised the full import of seeing Led Zeppelin at the Knebworth festival. The fact it was their first appearance in the UK since 1975 was a big thing. I was 18, four years seemed a hell of a long time to me, but I was too young to appreciate the rock n roll significance of the day. It should also be remembered that it was assumed they were back and would tour Europe and USA into 1980 and 1981. The death of John Bonham was on nobody's radar. It was widely assumed not that we...

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A Short History of Folk Rock...

A Short History of Folk Rock...

Authored By John Nicholson

Folk rock is a dangerous genre. Before you know it you’re dancing around the maypole singing hey nonny nonny, but rock fans shouldn’t worry, there is much to be enjoyed. The crucial lynchpin album is Liege and Lief by Fairport Convention. It's their third album and is a magical record that blends traditional song with a very modern rock sound. There’s songs which are long workouts like Matty Groves, an adaption of a traditional song which shows offRichard Thompson’s innovative playing. This album invented folk rock which subsequently took several different journey’s. Steeleye Span were initially more folky, but changed style...

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The Grateful Dead’s Terrapin Station...

The Grateful Dead’s Terrapin Station...

Authored By John Nicholson

For a bunch of acid heads Terrapin Station is on the face of things, unlikely. For a start it’s got Paul Buckmaster strings on it. Not a very acid rock thing to do. But the Dead played by their own rules. Many Deadheads think it’s a poor album, but I disagree. It’s different and has a lovely grandiose theme. It’s not really what you’d expect and is all the better for itUnusually it was produced by Keith Olson. The first side is brilliant songs like Estimated Prophet, which they play live regularly and expand the sax part with a stellar...

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Brand X: The jazz rock noodle you need

Brand X: The jazz rock noodle you need

Authored By John Nicholson

In the second half of the seventies, jazz rock, characterised by fast guitar and wonky rhythm's, enjoyed a few years of popularity. One of my favourites is Brand X. Almost totally instrumental, their line up featured Phil Collins for a period. Everyone has chops to burn and they deployed some exciting dynamics. Their debut was Unorthodox Behaviour. It featured Euthanazia Waltz which was a statement of intent. John Goodsall’s guitar was remarkable for speed and rhythm.If you wanted songs to sing along to, this wasn’t that. But if you wanted a blur of lead guitar played against a mellow background,...

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Which is the best Jethro Tull album?

Which is the best Jethro Tull album?

Authored By John Nicholson

When you’ve got a massive back catalogue to explore with a band, knowing which is the best stuff can be difficult. Wiki lists 33 studio and live albums. They are remarkably consistent. Some say Under Wraps is a stinker but it isn’t. The sound changes, but the quality remains. I’ve loved them since I was 16, good grief that’s 46 years. Where does the time go?My first love was the Songs From The Wood. I just loved the rural vibe to the lyrics such as Jack In The Green. Also Martin Barre’s guitar on Pibroch is the stuff of greatness....

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In Praise Of ARS…

In Praise Of ARS…

Authored By John Nicholson

One of Southern rock’s great bands, but one of the least celebrated is the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Starting as a studio band they released their debut album  in 1972 on Decca. The first two albums failed to sell and they were dropped. They had a very slick studio style. Smooth might be a good description. Rock music designed for hot nights. They were signed by Polydor and got a hit single. Doraville made #35 but the album, the Third Annual Pipe Dream stalled at #74. They released two more albums neither of which sold very many. Then it all changed....

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German Electronic bands...

German Electronic bands...

Authored By John Nicholson

German electronic music has a fascinating history. It was hugely influential on music ever since, but has its roots in the late 60s. German youth wanted to create something new that wasn’t connected to the Nazi past in any way. Electronic music turned out to be that thing. Though at first bands like Amon Dull I and II and even Kraftwerk were closer to prog rock than anything. But things changed in the early 70s. Weirdly, the UK was keen to embrace the German bands, especially Tangerine Dream who enjoyed considerable chart success for several years 1974 to 1982. It...

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Grunt: The non-Jefferson Airplane releases

Grunt: The non-Jefferson Airplane releases

Authored By John Nicholson

When Jefferson Airplane set up Grunt it was to release their own records. And for a while they did just that. But with so many side projects in the Airplane family there was so much music to be released. Primary among these was Hot Tuna. Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen’s blues rock band were popular and everything from Burgers to Final Vinyl came out on Grunt. The best of these is Double Dose. A double. A live album that is surprisingly heavy and guitar orientated. That was the stuff that found a mass market. The more obscure releases come from...

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Deep Purple: Mark ii or Mark iii ?

Deep Purple: Mark ii or Mark iii ?

Authored By John Nicholson

It’s an argument that will rage forever. On on hand you got a classic live album and one maybe two classic albums, on the other two brilliant albums and a series of brilliant live shows. It’s an impossible choice. It’s over 53 years since the band made Machine Head, an album that defined the classic rock era but only 50 since Burn came out and has good claim to be their finest record. The two incarnation’s are very different bands.Certainly the earlier incarnation has much to recommend it. Blackmore’s guitar is strikingly original. A kind of aural sculpture, not just...

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The Incredible String Band: Very hip. Very counterculture.

The Incredible String Band: Very hip. Very counterculture.

Authored By John Nicholson

If there is an example of the late 60's quirky, off the wall spirit it is the hippy duo the Incredible String Band. They were unlike any other band at the time. Folky, kind of, they were also very psychedelic in the truest eclectic sense. Formed in the mid sixties they made one album with Clive Palmer, now very rare. It got to #34 in the UK charts but it was the third album, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, which was their major contribution to the scene. The psychedelic, felt-tips on-acid cover of the second album was designed by The Fool,...

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Grand Funk: Popular in one country, ignored in another...

Grand Funk: Popular in one country, ignored in another...

Authored By John Nicholson

If you lived in the UK in the 1970s you wouldn’t have heard much of Grand Funk Railroad, but if you were in America, you’d have been pushed not to hear them for years and years. Rarely has a band been so popular in one country and so ignored in another.They were playing stadiums in USA, but never charted in the UK. Surprising really, as we love a good bluesy hard rock in the UK.They charted from 1969 to 1981 and had many top tens and gold records aplenty.If you caught one of their live shows in the early 70s...

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The Prolific Stephen Stills...

The Prolific Stephen Stills...

Authored By John Nicholson

It’s not remarked on enough that in the first half of the 1970s, one of the most prolific musicians producing great music was the magical Steve Stills. In the first six years of that amazing decade he recorded two CSNY albums, six solo albums, two Manassas albums and all of them were excellent. He also toured with all of these bands and was on a real creative peak. Deja Vu was a record for the ages. The subsequent live album is an important document. The first Manassas album is widely hailed as an important, eclectic album, reaching #4 in USA...

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