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.
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.
Dave Edmunds (guitar) and Nick Lowe (bass) must have recorded about 6 albums together in the late 70’s or early 80’s. However, this was the only ‘official’ release of the band named they used, Rockpile.
Due to some weird contracts, they never released another official album. So what they did was take turn releasing solo albums. And then they would play on each others release. So one album would be called Nick Lowe, and it would feature Dave Edmunds and the next would be Dave Edmunds, and it would feature Nick Lowe.
Rockpile also included Bill Bremmer on guitar and Terry Williams on drums. Terry Williams went on to play with Dire Straits in later years.
I had a chance to see them play as Rockpile on one of their only tours. I remember it was as an opening act for Bad Company and The Outlaws. It was at the Chicago Stadium. I also remember seeing a guy get busted at that show in the bathroom for selling ‘something’ to an undercover Chicago’s Finest.
Some of the best tracks included…Teacher Teacher, Play That Fast Thing One More Time and I f Sugar Was As Sweet As You.
Look for the extended version of this CD. It includes a great bonus of Edmunds and Lowe covering some Everly Brothers tracks. It includes Take a Message to Mary.
Here’s a smokin’ hot version of ‘Teacher, Teacher.’
I’m following that up with a real treat. Robert Plant joins Rockpile for a version of ‘Little Sister.’ This was taken from the Concert for Campuchea, 1979.
For those of you that don’t know, Utopia is a band led by Philadelphia native, Todd Rundgren. He was joined by Roger Powell on keys, John ‘Willie’ Wilcox on drums and Kasim Sultan on bass. Everybody sang.
This was their release of 1980. They were just spitting out the music back then. And Todd, well he was at one of his busiest periods between mid 70’s and say, 1983. Some of my favorite music by him was done during that time.
‘Adventures in Utopia’ follows my pattern of, ‘The tour I saw was often my favorite album by that artist.’ But I’m not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg in that statement? Did I love the album so I saw the show? Or did I see the show because I loved the album so much?’ (Granada Theater, Chicago, Illinois)
Some stand out tracks here include, ‘Road to Utopia, Caravan, Set Me Free, Second Nature, Shot in the Dark, You Make Me Crazy, Last of the New Wave Riders, Love Alone’ and ‘Rock Love.’
Yup, if you were counting, that’s the whole album!
I’m going a little more obscure today with an album that if you don’t have it, you’ll probably never be able to find.
“Touch You” is a 1980 release by Jimmy Hall. Jimmy Hall? Jimmy Hall? Where have I heard that name before? You’re right, you have heard that name. Hall was the lead singer of the great Mobile, Alabama band, Wet Willie. (Keep on Smilin’)
Following in Wet Willie tradition, “Touch You” was also another funky country album. This had a little more blue eyed soul than when he was in the band.
THE song on the album was ‘(I’m Happy That) Love Has Found You.” It’s a great number to groove to when you’re cruising past Ogden Avenue.