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.

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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.