When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Prog-Rock

The Church “Starfish”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#145 in the Series) is The Church, Starfish.

The Church was/is an Australian band that, although still together and touring, had their most success in the late 80s, early 90s.

That success was surrounded by the wonderful album, Starfish.

When I was thinking one day if I should feature this album, my friend Terry Witmer mentioned ‘Sure, You never heard anything like that on the radio at that time.’

That made me think, yup.  Gotta do The Church.

Starfish was The Church’s fifth full album released. They had a bunch of EPs tossed in there as well.  It held their highest charting single Under the Milky Way.

When this was released in 1988, The Church consisted of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, Peter Koppes and Richard Ploog.

Besides the aforementioned Under the Milky Way, other highlights included Reptile, Blood Money, North South East West and Destination.

One thing I didn’t realize until now was that Starfish was produced by Greg Ladanyi and Waddy Wachtel.   How did I miss?

Starfish peaked at #41 on the Billboard Top Album Chart.

Under the Milky Way peaked at #26 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

Be sure to check out some of the solo album Steve Kilbey and Wilson-Piper also recorded in this era.  I loved Earthed by Kilbey and Art Attack by Wilson-Piper.

Here’s a great unplugged version of Under the Milky Way.


801 “Listen Now”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#143 in the Series) is 801, Listen Now

Some times you have to pull one out that I bet no one has listened to in years!  I’m guessing that’s true for 801.

When was the last time you pulled this one off the shelf?  There even a good chance that you never even heard of this one.

801 is a band put together by Phil Manzanera, Phil is best known as lead guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Roxy Music.

Roxy would take time off now and then and like most bands, many members would work on solo projects.  This was Phil’s

It took two years to record. He started in 1975 and finished in 1977. Oddly enough, while working on putting this together, 801 released a live album in 1976 called Listen Live.

Phil recruited a ton of great players for Listen Now.  When I put this together, I was shocked to see that one of my favorite vocalists Tim Finn!  Who knew!!

Here’s a list of some of the others. Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, Mel Collins, Simon Phillips, Eddie Rayner(!!!!), Eddie Jobson, Lol Crème and Kevin Godley.

The two songs that received the most airplay were the first two tracks on the disc.

Listen Now and Flight 19.


Rush “2112”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#141 in the Series) is Rush, 2112.

Every once in a while you have to just go with a good old fashioned rock and roll album.

Rush 2112 fills the bill.

I really liked Rush back in this era.  I was a Fly By Night fan, A Caress of Steel fan and then a 2112 fan.  The follow up live release All the Worlds a Stage is a fantastic live album that captured that era perfectly.  It was a real treat seeing Rush back in 2000 seat venues during that time.  Shortly after that, I was done with Rush.  I haven’t seen them nor considered buying anything since about 1980.  Don’t tell me about Moving Pictures.

Once again, we have an entry that one song is one full side. I never realized how many of those albums I had until we started doing this.

The title cut, 2112 is all of side one.  It is broken into seven segments

  • I: Overture

  • II: The Temples of Syrinx

  • III: Discovery

  • IV: Presentation

  • V: Oracle: The Dream

  • VI: Soliloquy

  • VII:: Grand Finally

Side two contains one of Rush’s best songs, Something for Nothing.

2112 was produced by the band, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart along with Terry Brown. Terry Brown also produced such acts such as Max Webster, Klaatu and Voivod.

2112, released in 1976 and reached #61 on the Billboard Charts.


Emerson, Lake and Palmer “Tarkus”

Today’s Cool Album Of the Day (#136 in the Series) is Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Tarkus.

Many different album to chose from here.  Trilogy, Pictures at an Exhibition, Works and of course, Brain Salad Surgery.  However, Tarkus it is.

This is yet another album that features one song on a full side.  How many of those have I had already?  I know there was Close to the Edge, Smallcreep’s Day, Terrapin Station and Autobahn. Plus I know Suppers Ready will come sooner or later. Maybe a little In-a-gadda-da-vida?

The title track Tarkus Makes up all of side one.  It is broken into seven parts

  • Eruption

  • Stones of Years

  • Iconoclast

  • Mass

  • Manticore

  • Battlefield

  • Aquatarkus

Side two features a couple classic ELP songs as well. Jeremy Bender and of course, Bitches Crystal.

I saw the band about four times when they were touring in the late 90s.  I was really surprised when they added Bitches Crystal to the show.  I don’t remember seeing them do that when I would see them ‘back in the day.’ It really was one of the highlights of the show.  It was an excellent live version.

Greg Lake produced Tarkus. It was released in 1971.

The cover art was created by William Neal, He also was responsible for the graphics for ELPs follow up, Pictures at an Exhibition.

It reached #9 on the Billboard Top Album Charts.

Here’s a live video of Tarkus. It’s broken into two parts. It’s followed by Bitches Crystal


Budgie “If I Were Brittania I’d Waive the Rules”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#133 in the Series is) Budgie, If I were Brittania I’d Waive the Rules.

Budgie was a Welch loud rock band that recorded most of their catalog in the 70’s.  I always liked them because their sound was always unique to me.  A little metal here, a little blues rock here, a little prog-rock here, etc.  I always loved bands that you just can not pigeon hole.

They had about six definitive albums. It was not the best reviewed, nor the best accepted, but for some reason I was always partial to Brittania.

The main reason was one song, one that I always loved. (Whenever I had parties I used to find my self putting this song on about 4 am when only the die-hards were left.  Some of them still read this.  You know who you are!!)

That song was Black Velvet Stallion. It’s an epic eight plus minute song that ends side two.  A great song for those that love progressive sounding guitar solos.

A few other tunes that got a little play were Sky High Percentage and Anne Neggen.

All the music here was written my bassist, vocalist Burke Shelly and guitarist Tony Bourge.  The band on this album was rounded out by drummer Steve Williams and keyboard player, Richard Dunn.

I remember trying to see Budgie a couple years after this album was released. A couple buddies and myself drove from the far southeast area of Chicago to the far Northwest suburbs. One of my friends was underage. We were trying to get into a club called B’Ginnings. He had a fake ID and got caught at the door. An hour and a half drive for nothing!!  I did eventually see them at the Riviera Theater.

If I Were Brittania I’d Waive the Rules was released in 1976.

Here’s Black Velvet Stallion followed by Sky High Percentage. Sorry, I couldn’t find anything live for this album.  These are studio tracks.


Mike Rutherford “Smallcreep’s Day”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#130 in the Series) is Mike Rutherford, Smallcreep’s Day.

OK, it’s time to go a little more obscure.  Not as much obscurity in the artist, but in the material chosen.

Smallcreep’s Day is the first solo work by guitarist Mike Rutherford.  Rutherford is known, of course, mainly for his work with Genesis.  But like all members in that band, he’s done work outside the group.

His main solo project that he’s known for is ‘Mike and the Mechanics.’ They had some popular songs in the mid eighties. All I Need is a Miracle and The Living Years being the best known of them.

Smallcreep’s Day was more of a progressive album as compared to the pop of the Mechanics.

Side one was a seven part epic piece of the title cut. Side two is traditional five song setting.

Ex-Genesis member Anthony ‘Ant’ Phillips plays keys, Brand X member Morris Pert plays percussion.  Simon Phillips was on drums.  He’s played with everyone from Roger Daltrey, Judas Priest, Garry Moore and can currently be found behind the kit for ‘Toto.’

Smallcreep’s Day was produced by David Hentschel.  He’s been around forever. He produced Genesis’ Duke amongst many other artists.

It was a very good record but got shitty reviews like most progressive music.

The cover work was another design by the great Hipgnosis. (As was yesterday’s UFO album, Force It.)

It was released in 1980 and reached #163 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.


Ultravox “Vienna”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#125 in the Series) is Ultravox, Vienna.

Ultravox was one of my favorite bands in the 80s.  Great albums, great live shows.

I was lucky enough to see them at the Aragon Ballroom when they toured a few years after this release.  They were out on the road for Quartet when I saw them.  A real interesting show. EVERYTHING was gray. The guitars the backdrop, the amplifiers, the guitar chords, the drums, the clothes. I don’t know what they were trying to say, but the music was superb!

Vienna housed some of Ultravox best songs.  Quartet had the hottest single, Reap the Wild Wind so it sold the most.  But give me Vienna.

Highlight for me included New Europeans, Passing Strangers, Sleepwalk, All Stood Still and of course the classic epic song, the title track, Vienna.

This was the first album that included new lead vocalist, Midge Ure.  Almost all the bands success was after Midge joined.  He also released a great solo album called The Gift which included the single If I Was.

I’ve read that the band got together for a reunion tour this year. All the shows were overseas so no good for us here in the States.

Vienna peaked at #164 on the Billboard Top 200.

Sleepwalk reached #24 on the Dance Charts.


King Crimson “In The Court of The Crimson King”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#119 in the Series) is King Crimson, “In The Court Of The Crimson King.”

A Prog-Rock all-time classic.  You can’t say anything less.

It’s hard to believe that this was the debut album from King Crimson, but it was.

“In The Court of the Crimson King” contained only five songs.  But a few go down with the all time greats. ‘21st Century Schizoid Man, In The Court of the Crimson King’ and ‘Epitaph.’

I was an Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan before I was a King Crimson fan. I played ELP’s ‘Welcome Back’ live album until the grooves wore out.  They included a part of ‘Epitaph’ in their epic song, ‘Tarkus.’ At the time I was unaware of this being a King Crimson song.  So one day I finally grab the King Crimson album and I’m giving it a listen and I hear Epitaph and I was stunned to hear, what I thought, was an ELP included.

One of reasons I originally picked up this album was, of course, that Greg Lake from ELP handles the lead vocals.

King Crimson was and is and always will be Robert Fripp’s band.  It’s his baby.  One of the most talented and original guitarists, Robert has been the only consistent in all their configurations.

Other band members on this disc were Ian McDonald (Before he went onto play with that crap band Foreigner), flute and whatnot, Michael Giles, drums.  Another key ‘member’ of the band is Pete Sinfield.  Pete was the band’s lyricist. He’s still spitting out some great works to this day.  He’s worked with some of the greats.  You might know his work from ELP’s classic tune, ‘Pirates.’

This 1969 release peaked at #28 on the Billboard Top 200 sometime in 1970.

They helped define a genre that’s one of my favorites.  And they’re still around as well.


Daryl Hall “Sacred Songs”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Daryl Hall’s “Sacred Songs.”

This is one of the main reasons that I’ve decided to do this blog, column whatever. To point out ditties like this. I have a feeling that many people did not know this gem existed.

It’s the first solo release by Daryl Hall of ‘Hall and Oates’ fame. I don’t know if DH is the best rock vocalist of all time, but he’s in the team picture.

This was recorded in 1977 but not released until 1980. The wonderful RCA records held the album because is was ‘not commercial enough.’ I guess ‘very good’ just isn’t a good enough reason for a label to release something. I think it was just too different for their brain trust and they didn’t know what to do with it.

Here’s what this album was all about. It was part of a music trilogy that included two other releases. The first was Peter Gabriel’s 2nd album (The one with the scratching on the cover), Daryl Hall was part two. The final piece of the trilogy was Robert Fripp’s Exposure. Fripp played and produced all three. Hall sang on Fripp’s. Hall co-wrote a song on Gabriel’s etc etc. It was quite the interesting project.

It’s pretty hard to find. I believe it’s been out of print for years. Recommended track. “Gotta Have Something in 4/4 Time.


Pink Floyd “Animals”

Today’s “Cool Album of the Day” is Pink Floyd, “Animals.”

Well, I thought it was time to pull out a big hitter. So it’s Pink Floyd today.

“Animals” is basically three biting political satire songs. Pigs, Dogs and Sheep.

It’s mainly a Roger Waters album as he wrote the entire album except for ‘Dogs’ which he co-wrote with David Gilmour.

The album opens and ends with a short into/exit song called, Pigs on The Wing. If you had the 8-Track of “Animals” you’d know that these are looped together to form one song. Nice touch.

“Animals” was also the catalyst for one of Pink Floyd best tours. This was when we were first introduced to the flying pigs.

It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 US Charts.

Here’s a pretty tasty live version of ‘Dogs’ by Roger Waters and his band.


Starcastle “Starcastle”

Today’s “Cool Album of the Day” is the debut, self titled album by, “Starcastle.”

Starcastle was a prog-rock band mostly based out of Champaign, Illinois. Their stylings leaned heavily towards the sound of ‘Yes.’ If you’re a fan of ‘Yes,’ you should check out this album. I think you’d like it.

This was released in 1976 on Epic Records. I’m not sure if their impact reached much out of the Midwest. They did get a little more of a bump nationally with their 2nd and 3rd albums ‘Fountains of Light’ and ‘Citadel.’

‘Starcastle’ contains their epic song, ‘Lady of the Lake.’ 10 minutes in length with a few different chapters. I’ll post a link below. As I mentioned, ‘Yes’ fans, check it out.

Every song is a keeper here. No filler tracks as far as I’m concerned.

Terry Luttrell was Starcastle’s lead vocalist. He was the original lead singer in REO Speedwagon (at least on their albums) but was replaced by Kevin Cronin.

Steve Hagler should also be noted for his guitar work.

“Starcastle” peaked at #95 on the Billboard Top 200 Album charts.


U.K. “U.K.”

Today’s Cool Album of The Day is UK, “UK”

One of the best ‘supergroups’ of their day.

U.K was of: John Wetton, (King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Roxy Music) bass, vocals; Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Genesis) drums and percussion; Eddie Jobson (Curved Air, Roxy Music, Frank Zappa) violin, keyboards and electronics and Allan Holdsworth (Soft Machine, Gong) guitars.

The some was as big as the parts on this 1978 release.

The best known track was the single ‘In The Dead of Night.’ ‘Alaska’ and ‘Time to Kill’ also got some play.

U.K. was produced by U.K and reached #65 on the Billboard US Charts.

Check this out.  Instead of my adding the standard video.  This is a cover by three young men aged 11-15 playing In the Dead of Night.  And to think that this band, Mindwalk is a trio and UK was a four piece.


Be-Bop Deluxe “Sunburst Finish”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#77 in the Series) is Be-Bob Deluxe, “Sunburst Finish.”

Do you know this one? You should!

Be-Bop Deluxe was maestro British guitarist, Bill Nelson’s main project in the mid to early 70s.

They had a number of really imaginative albums and a couple live releases.

“Starburst Finish” was the most popular here in the States. Doing a lengthy tour here might have contributed to that success. I saw them at the International Amphitheater here in Chicago.
There were four main standout tracks on “Sunburst Finish.” They are ‘Fair Exchange, Ships in the Night, Life in the Air Age’ and ‘Sleep That Burns.’

Bill Nelson produced and penned all the music. His band mates included the late New Zealand’s Charles Tumahai on bass. Andy Clarke on keys and Simon Fox on drums.

Nice album cover as well!!!


Peter Gabriel “Peter Gabriel”

Today’s Cool album of the Day is Peter Gabriel’s album, “Peter Gabriel.”

OK, now that we’ve established that, the next question is…..which one?
After Peter departed Genesis, his first four solo releases were all titles simply, Peter Gabriel. Why, he wanted them to be looked at as renewed releases of a magazine. Why did he stop this tradition with his fifth album, “So?” Well, you’ll have to ask David Geffen that question. He pulled rank. (Note: Even thou the fourth edition of the Peter Gabriel magazine collection was labeled as just ‘Peter Gabriel,’ it was widely known as ‘Security.’

So again you ask, Larry? Which one? Well here it’s going to be the third solo album. Sometimes even called, ‘Melt’

This was PG’s first solo album to go #1 in the UK. We in the States took it up to #22.

The opening track is ‘Intruder.’ Some guy named Phil Collins plays drums. This is were Phillip introduced his Big Boom drum sound that we, (and Mike Tyson) liked and mimicked so much on ‘In The Air Tonight.’ But yes, we heard it here first. (Collins was able to produce that sound by placing his drums at the bottom of a long tubular tower with mics at the top.)

Many more highlights on this piece of plastic. ‘No Self Contol, I Don’t Remember, Family Snapshot’,and’ Not One of Us.’

But two other tracks really stand out. ‘Games Without Frontiers’ and the chilling, ‘Biko.’

‘Biko,’ long a concert ender, was a narrative about the brutal slaying of jailed apartheid leader, Stephen Biko.

Musicians here included Tony Levin on bass and stick bass. Jerry Marotta also on drums, David Rhodes on guitar. Kate Bush on vocal and the great, ‘Mr. Synergy,’ Larry Fast on synthesizer and bass synthesizer.


Genesis “Selling England By The Pound”

Congratulations Genesis on today being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Your 1973 recording of “Selling England by the Pound” is Today’s Cool Album of the Day.

Genesis is one of my favorite bands. Genesis IS my favorite live band. My seeing them at an “Invitation Only: Full Dress Rehearsal Show” for a hand full of people in 2007 will most likely never be topped as a music experience!

‘Selling England By The Pound’ was the penultimate album with Peter Gabriel as their costume wearing front man. He left the machinery two years later after recording and touring for ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.’

“Selling” contains two of my favorite pieces. ‘The Cinema Show’ and ‘Firth of Fifth.’ Both contributing to their live shows for years. Other highlights include ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’ and ‘I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)”

Viva Genesis! Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2010.


Fayrewether “Fayrewether”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the first album by “Fayrewether.”

Highlights include “Don’t Count Me Out” and “The Man in the Jar.”

Fayrewether was a band from Cleveland Ohio. Fronted by Paul Fayrewether, they played around the Chicago area often between 1978 and 1985. They still do a few shows a year in their hometown.

Do a Fayrewether search on YouTube . You’ll see some great live performances.


Laurie Anderson “Big Science”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Laurie Anderson, “Big Science.”

I’ve always liked musicians that try and do something differently. But I loved musicians that do something differently and actually come up with good music! There IS a difference!!

Laurie Anderson can really be ‘out there’ sometimes. But she has a vision and can bring it to life. Some would refer to her as a ‘minimalist.’ Feel free if pigeonholing is your thing.

Big Science was her first release and I believe, still her most popular.
It was released in 1982 and featured the eight minute haunting track, ‘O Superman (For Massenet).’

She later went on to do some more interesting works with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Adrian Belew.

She has just released a new album on Nonesuch called “Homeland.” Feel free to pick up a copy at your local Ma + Pa record store today!


Yes “Close To The Edge”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day  is Yes’, “Close To The Edge.”

Only three Songs on this album, but they sure are good! The first side is the epic title track, Close to the Edge. Side two includes And You and I and Siberian Khatru.

Siberian Khatru was Yes’ concert opener for many years.

Bill Bruford instead of Alan White on drums on this release.


Kraftwerk “Autobahn”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Kraftwerk, “Autobahn.”

Another one of those classic albums that side one was the title track and nothing else.

Hailing from Germany, Kraftwerk “Autobahn” was mainly a synthesizer album.

It did include a bit of flute, guitar and violin but not that much.

It was released in 1974.

The title track was 22 minutes in length. A chopped up three minute version was released as a single and actually made it to #25 on the Billboard charts in the States.

Did you ever have this album?


Echo and the Bunnymen “Echo and the Bunnymen”

Today’c Cool Album of the Day is Echo and the Bunnymen’s, “Echo and the Bunnymen.”

One of my favorites by Ian McCulloch and the boys. My favorite release of 1987.

Features ‘Lips Like Sugar, Bombers Bay, Bedbugs and Ballyhoo’ and ‘ The Game.’

Echo and the Bunnymen are usually considered part of the British Post Punk era. I tend to think of them more of a part of the so called New Romanticism style. New Romanticism, to me, was the sound that evolved from from the Roxy Music and Brian Eno sound. see: Ultravox etc. I like Echo in that group.

But like we’ve said before in this forum. Who cares what group they’re in. The better question is, Are they any damn good?

Echo and the Bunnymen are damn good. That’s why they’re back on tour and that’s why they’re ‘Today’s Cool Album of the Day.’ Oh, yeah…..Happy Birthday Ian.