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last additions 2005/03/13

Alice Cooper School's Out
The band made a big impact with this album back in 1972 - and the wild stage act was a solid attention-grabber. Lots and lots of good stuff - and some rubbish - has come from this band over the last 30 years.

The Allman Brothers Band Eat A Peach
A part-live double album of early Seventies Southern boogie from a band which ended with the death of Duane Allman. Some of the music has lasted and pieces like Southbound are still being used in films and TV shows.

Blaster Bates Laughter With A Bang
Way back in the early Seventies, or possibly even the late Sixties as there is no release date on most of the albums, explosives expert Derek Bates became a cult figure via these recordings of after-dinner speeches. Laughter With A Bang was followed by 1,001 Gelignites, TNT For Two, Watch Out For The Bits, Lift-Off and 'Gelly' Babe. All well worth tracking down.

The Beautiful South blue is the colour
Blue is the language a lot of the time on this album but it contains a number of classic tracks by this band in one of its best line-ups.

Be-Bop Deluxe Axe Victim
This band, fronted by Bill Nelson, was very big in the Seventies and the debut album made a large impact. About 3 more followed before the bubble burst.

Ludwig van Beethoven The 9 Symphonies
The 5-CD set of RCA Classics featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra [conductor Erich Leinsdorf] provides the basis for a Beethoven Day [see also the entries for Prokofiev and Vaughan Williams] and offers two symphonies per CD up to the eighth and the ninth on its own CD. An excellent box set.

Black Sabbath Black Sabbath & Paranoid
The first couple of albums from this band lit up the early 70s with the second of them making the definitive statement of intent.

Blue Oyster Cult Agents Of Fortune
This album included the classic track (Don't Fear) The Reaper and provides a good introduction to one of the major bands of the 70s.

Bon Jovi Keep The Faith
Some of the band's output is a little trite but a lot of it is real anthem stuff and quite inspiring if you're in the mood!

Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 4
There are lots of versions around of Brucker's 'Romantic' Symphony, the only one with a nickname. The version on the Decca double CD with Symphony No. 3 is well worth exploring - along with the rest of the sequence up to Bruckner's unfinished Ninth.

The Byrds Mr. Tambourine Man
The good thing about collecting CDs of the Byrds' albums from the Sixties and Seventies is that they are packed with bonus tracks, alternative versions and general stuff - mainly because you can get so much more on a CD than an LPs and just 35 minutes' material looks incredibly miserable on a CD. There's a whole lot of good stuff on the albums, they're reissued surprisingly cheaply on CD and there are good deals on box sets, such as the one containing Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn! Turn! Turn! and Fifth Dimension.

Pyotr Illich Chaikovsky Panorama
This double CD, released by Deutsche Gramophon, features symphonies 5 and 6, the Nutcracker suite and Romeo and Juliet. Lots of good stuff at a "special price".

Camel The Snow Goose
A classic instrumental album from 1975, the music inspired by the book by Paul Gallico put Camel on the map and on course for performances with the LSO conducted by David Bedford.

Colosseum Valentyne Suite
This album was the band at its best with a line-up including Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Dave Greenslade.

Cream Those Were The Days
This 4-CD set is issued in the form of a tall, thin hardback book with the CDs built in to the end covers. Two studio CDs, two live CDs and everything a fan of Clapton/Baker/Bruce could want in one package.

Curved Air Phantasmagoria
Featuring the distinctive vocals of Sonja Kristina and Darryl Way on electric violin, this was one of the definitive bands of the 1970s and this was their most adventurous album.

Deep Purple In Rock
Their 4th album and the first of a new direction with a new line-up, which went on to produce Fireball and Machine Head. The record company thought this album was so good that they even issued a 25th Anniversary edition in 1990!

Deacon Blue Raintown
You sit and listen to some albums and you think, "Hey, this is seriously good!" That's Raintown.

Sandy Denny Gold Dust
To quote from Dreamers of the Day by Jon Gored, "When it comes to female vocalists, there's Sandy Denny and there's everyone else." The sleeve notes for the album and the image of the lady that it seeks to project are a load of old rubbish. But this long overdue version of her final concert - released an incredible 20 years after her death in 1978 - is a must-have among must-haves! In addition to her solo albums, she also appeared on early albums by the Straws and Fairport Convention.

Bruce Dickinson Accident of Birth
The former Iron Maiden front man has put together an absolute stoater of a solo album, which ends with the stunning Arc of Space.

Dire Straits On Every Street & Brothers In Arms
This gang of real musicians has put together a string of albums which are strong on both performance and musical values. The above two are among the best of them.

The Doors Box Set
Four CDs, a tall, thin book about the band and a box. What more could fans of "The Greatest Rock Band Of All Time" want? The CDs comprise 3 live ones featuring warts and all performances - live and dirty and not cleaned up in the studio first - and a CD of band favourites, which doesn't include The End, but you get that on CD #2. It's what to buy after you've bought the double live CD and the CD of An American Prayer.

Sir Edward Elgar Symphony No. 1
Packed with good stuff from start to finish and well worth having.

Fairport Convention Liege & Lief
Their fourth album, and the last with Sandy Denny, is a classic of electric folk. A great band, which continues in one form or another after over 30 years in the business. "Babbacombe Lee" is another to look out for, although a CD version can never hope to match the bits and pieces of historical stuff supplied with the LP version.

Fish Raingods With Zippos
This CD is the latest in a long line of good stuff. You can even get a full-colour version of the liner booklet with a gold signature if you buy something from his personal back catalogue, of which Yin is particularly highly recommended.

Focus Hamburger Concerto
This Dutch band of the 70s produced some excellent albums, which are well worth tracking down. Other titles include: In & Out of Focus, Moving Waves and Focus 3.

Fotheringay Fotheringay
What Sandy Denny did after she left Fairport Convention. More good stuff from a major star.

Genesis Live
Issued in 1973, these live recordings made in Leicester and Manchester's Free Trade Hall {I was there!] capture the essence of the band when Peter Gabriel was the front man.

The Grateful Dead Live/Dead
From tuneful, folk-style music to acid-head weirdness, The Dead have done it all. There's quite a lot of weirdness on this double live album. From the Mars Hotel is also highly recommended.

Groundhogs Who Will Save The World?
The album has what has been voted "The best LP sleeve ever" with the mighty Groundhogs in cartoon action all over it. The music is pretty ace, too.

Hawkwind A Space Ritual
The cassette of this double concept album is to be avoided as the tracks were rearranged to make both sides of the cassette the same length, timewise. Go for the double LP or the CD. And then check out the rest of the band's excellent output.

King Crimson Islands
One of the best of the band's early output in the late Sixties/early Seventies. They may be better known for In The Court Of The Crimson King but Islands is a personal favourite.

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D
The EMI Classics version by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [conductor Klaus Tennstedt] is an excellent buy. Known for composing symphonies that need two CDs, Mahler is an expert in the art of recycling. Themes from this symphony are also heard in his Songs of a Wayfarer, and fans of the TV sci-fi series Red Dwarf will recognize the programme's title music if they listen to Mahler's 4th or 5th symphony.

Mountain Flowers of Evil
Big in the Sixties and Seventies, the band is probably best known for this half-studio, half-live album and it's an excellent starting point. Their big number was Nantucket Sleighride which is featured on the album of the same name and the live album "The Road Goes Ever On".

The Nice Five Bridges
This live album was recorded with the Sinfonia of London as part of the "rock bands getting together with Classical musicians" movement of the early Seventies, which included Jon Lord's efforts with and without Deep Purple. The Nice's studio albums are an interesting mixture of Sixties rock/pop/general weirdness and flashes of Classical stuff by the likes of Bach, Chaikovsky and Sibelius.

Ocean Colour Scene Ocean Colour Scene
This band offers a laid-back brand of melodic music, which offers a pleasant background when you don't want someone screaming their head off at you.

Prefab Sprout Andromeda Heights
If you're looking for a bright, fresh, clear sound with lots of musicianship, this is a band to explore. This album is bursting with shades and colours combined with a distinctive vocal style.

Pulp This Is Hardcore
Jarvic Cocker and Co. offer a tuneful brand of 'Resignation Rock', which has a certain world-weary edge. The sound has been described as 'almost music to slit your wrists by but a bit too perky'.

Sergey Prokofiev The Symphonies
Ever wondered what happened to the boxes they used to use for 5" reel-to-reel recording tapes? Decca have recycled them for sets of CDs. Their set of 4 CDs by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the LSO [conductor Walter Weller] offers all 7 of Prokofiev's symphonies plus the Scythian Suite as a filler. Great for having a Prokofiev Day [see also the entries for Beethoven and Vaughan Williams] and just playing the CDs one after another.

Rafferty, Gerry Baker Street
The title track of this album is well known but there is a lot of other good stuff on it. Well worth checking out.

Lou Reed Rock 'n' Roll Animal
One of the big events of 1974 was the release of this album. Most of the tracks are familiar to fans of the Velvet Underground's sequence of albums, which began in 1967. These new interpretations of Velvets' classics totally blew everyone away at the time. It was an LP to keep turning over and keep playing.

Jean Sibelius Kullervo, a Symphonic Poem.
Virgin Classics and Naxos offer versions which are distinctively different [and 78' 34" and 72' 34" long respectively] and both are well worth having. So are the two Philips Duo double CD sets containing all 7 symphonies, the violin concerto and some fillers.

The Strawbs Grave New World
Another classic album from the early 70s. 'Monumental' is a good way to describe the thinking behind it. If you can find it, All Our Own Work, released in 1968, also features Sandy Denny and is well worth a listen.

Georg Philipp Telemann Dinner Music, Vol. I-III
Telemann was a major superstar of the eighteenth century but he hasn't lasted as well as his contemporaries, such as J.S. Bach. In addition to the obligatory religious music, there are lots of bright, cheerful pieces available, such as the above suites, and they're highly recommended.

Van der Graaf Generator Pawn Hearts
The absolute must have VdGG album. Buy it, play it, cherish it.

Ralph Vaughan Williams The Wasps (exerpts) and other works
This component of the Royal Philharmonic Collection also contains The Lark Ascending, Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis, Fantasia on Greensleeves and the English Folk Song Suite. A good illustration of what qualifies Vaughan Williams to be listed among the great composers. The 5-CD box set of his first 8 symphonies released by Belart provides the basis for a Vaughan Williams Day [see also the entries for Beethoven and Prokofiev]

the Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat
An album cramming maximum weirdness into the smallest space. If you don't listen to any other Velvets track, you must check out The Gift on this album.

Richard Wagner The Ride of the Valyries and other works
This component of the Royal Philharmonic Collection also contains the Rienzi overture, the introduction to Act III of Lohengrin, the Siegfried idyll, the Flying Dutchman overture and the Tannhäuser overture. Good for playing loud and feeling good, especially Tannhäuser.

Frank Zappa Läther
Originally, this was a 4-LP set, which Zappa delivered to his recording company only for them to refuse to issue it. Zappa's response was to play the whole lot on the steam wireless and let his fans tape it. The 3-CD set provides an enjoyable window on the late Mr. Zappa's weird and wonderful musical world.

Things that didn't make it

In the 21st Century, this band comes across as raucous, repetitive and lacking in the raw excitement generated by bands like Kiss and Guns 'n' Roses. Okay, they're a cult in their own lunchtime and they have their moments, but there's nothing much lasting here.

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