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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 7. 27 May, 1970

Record Reviews

page 14

Record Reviews

The Kinks—Arthur, Pye

The Kinks sounding like Canned Heat is rather like listening to Wilson Pickett singing the Archies. But with Pickett on Cashbox in the States souling Sugar Sugar and anything going, it's not surprising that a statement like that can be made without any raising of eyebrows. For the Kinks singing Victoria reproduce an authentic Canned Heat Goin' Up The Country sound. Mind you, they couldn't keep it up long-Ray Davies is too distinctive an artist to let the Kinks be influenced by any bubblegum blues outfit like Canned Heat.

The whole album is pure Kinks-lyrical genius and lyrical nonsense and still that deliberately dated instrumental backing that occasionally sounds like a drunk banging around in the dustbins. The Sad Story of Arthur, the little Englishman, is related by Davies with a lot of cynicism, but not without understanding. The music is very imaginative and also very commercial, which will no doubt scare off all Led Zeppelin and Archies fans. Of course the album exudes the pervading image of Ray Davies standing there with a sly grin on his face singing

Well Mr Montgomery says
And Mr Mountbatten says
We gotta fight the bloody battle
to the very end.
As Vera Lynn would say
Well meet again some day
But all the sacrifices we must make
Before the end.

Footnote: Davies finally lost faith in the British, the music scene, and the whole bloody lot when the LP failed to make the charts.

Isaac Hayes-Hot Buttered Soul, Stax.

A recently entry in the American Top 20 Album charts was this package by singer/songwriter Isaac Hayes. It contains a mere four tracks — Walk On By, the Bacharach-David song that was once a hit for Dionne Warwick: One Woman which was a recent hit single for Johnny Rivers: Hyperbolic syllabic sesque dalymistic a thing co-written by Hayes, and lastly one of the most devious tortures yet devised—an 18 minute version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix. (Imagine an 18 minute version of Jim McNaught and Long Tall Texan.) Actually, I'd love to say the interpretation was stimulating, scintillating and just too much man, but unfortunately it's drawn out (a spoken monologue lasting almost ten minutes!) and generally very boring—lots of strings and deep comments on life and love.

One Woman which lasts a mere five minutes is good—orchestra, girlie chorus and Hayes' deep voice rumbling along in the middle of it all. Walk On By lasts twelve minutes and is the funkiest number on the album. This track features fine backing work by the Bar-Kays, recorded cither before they went down with Otis Redding or else by a new group carrying on the name.

The Kinks - Arthur Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul Delaney and Bonnie - Accept no Substitutions Taste - On the Boards

Hayes has very little to do with the whole album, which is regrettable. The type of soul-stirring sounds that Hayes has produced in the past for Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas and some of the other Stax stars is not in evidence here. The whole thing is too sugary—the backing is very full but too orchestral. The album is worth hearing, but don't bother waiting for something to happen, because literally, you'll sit there half the night.

Delaney and Bonnie-Accept No Substitutes (Elektra)

After the big rave-up about Delaney and Bonnie in England, with Clapton and Harrison jumping up and down on stage, their first album to reach these shores would have to be good-and it is. Asa soul duo the pair are nothing spectacular, but backed by some superb instrumental work they've turned out some great rhythm'n'blues (after Tina Turner you can't really class it as soul, however blue-eyed).

Leon Russell, the pianist and arranger behind Joe Cocker's recent collection, is behind this outfit too—witness the superb gospel sound on Ghetto and Soldiers of the Cross created by Russell on piano. Probably the best track on the album is Someday which starts off with a heavy bass thump and then halfway through launches into a frenzied upbeat which is sensational. Bonnie's voice tends to whine, and Delaney has a bit too much of the ordinary about his, but with the sort of band they've got they can hardly lose. Actually, they've succeeded in getting a pretty funky sound—after all, for a time Bonnie was one of the Ikettes with the Ike and Tina Turner Show, and the duo later became the first white act to ever sign with Stax-Volt, which has gotta mean something.

Taste-On the Boards, Polydor

If you want some heavy blues-rock that doesn't sound like two steam-rollers mating (Led Zeppelin) or background music to a clip on The End of the World (Vanilla Fudge) try (better still, buy) Taste and their second album On the Boards. An Irish trio, their main strength is in Rory Gallagher (lead vocals, alto-sax and harmonica, as well as composer of all ten tracks on the album) and also in an ability to keep away from dirge-like, ponderous 4-chord blues.

The LP then is not monotonous, and each track is distinctive. From the solid driving sound of What's Going On with a tremendous screeching lead break, to Railway and Gun with its delicate guitar opening and then a sudden switch into a gutsy blues break reminiscent of the old Yardbirds styles. It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again is a long jazz influenced track in which Richard McCracken (bass) and John Wilson (drums) vie with each other for free-flow interpretation. If The Day Was Any Longer and Morning Sun are both examples of the group's ability to break the beat in the middle of a number and turn on to something quite different—then switch back. On Side 2 Eat My Words featuring superb sliding guitar, is the high spot.

The group is relatively unknown out here but like a few others (Smokestack Lightnin', Mad River, Youngbloods, for example) illustrate how a group playing blues or heavy rock can produce fine rock musicians and yet remain pretty unnoticed by both commercial and progressive buyers.

Dennis O'Brien

Mozart's Piano Concertos No 1 7 in G Major, K.453, and No 21 in C Major, K.467. Came rata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum. Soloist and conductor: Geza Anda.

Anyone who has seen the movie Elvira Madigan will be haunted by the theme music chosen by director Bo Widerberg, the andante from Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto in C Major K.467. Unfortunately the commercial aspect of the theme has been taken up by such lacklustre dignitaries as James Last and Peter Nero who have issued bastardized versions. When I saw the movie preview I expected to have to put up with this sort of musical crap-out and was delighted to discover that Widerberg used a recording with Geza Anda as soloist and conducting the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum. Deutsche Grammophon have released this recording of the complete Concerto coupled with the 17th in G Major K.453 (138783).

The Psalms of David

The two concertos receive the most exquisite Mozart playing I have heard. Anda's approach is very lyrical and warm, the serenity of the Mozartian nuances is never disturbed as the phrases "flow like oil" (Mozart's expression). His playing is very delicate, there is no sense of urgency and yet the tempo never drags. Both Artur Rubinstein and Daniel Barenboim have recorded good versions of this and yet neither can match Anda's. As is to be expected, Rubinstein's approach is in the same warm manner but unfortunately RCA's recording is marred by an imbalance in the string and wind sections and some rather murky tone in the horns. Barenboim's interpretation is in a more 'grand' manner. The first movement bounces along at a very brisk rate and technically everything is perfect but after listening to Anda the whole concerto sounds a little hurried. By the time Barenboim and the English Chamber Orchestra reach the allegretto the music is really galloping along.

Anda's more refined approach is especially apparent in the C Major Concerto. The dignified first movement develops beautifully and features excellent rapport between soloist and orchestra. Anda's clarity of tone is highlighted in the poignant andante where the simple lilting rhythm is passed between piano and strings. Comparison with Barenboim is inevitable and once again I find that his occasional mannerisms show up rather badly, especially in the final Allegro vivace assai. Anda's phrases trickle out effortlessly whereas Barenboim is inclined to toss them about and reshape them in a much more tortured manner.

Perhaps my delight in this record is only a matter of taste but I certainly consider Anda's musicianship as being close to the ideal Mozart playing. Furthermore the recording is excellent with a very good balance between orchestra and soloist.

King's College Choir, Cambridge, conducted by David Wilcocks. The Psalms of David. (EMI CSDM 3656).

The Anglican chant form offers little scope for variation and one would consider that a whole record devoted to this style of choral singing could be rather monotonous. However the choice of material and high standard of performance on The Psalms of David (HMV CSDM 3656) allows no place for boredom. David Willcocks has chosen a selection of chants which offer considerable variation in the form, from the soft, lilting Psalm 122 I Was Glad by Woodward and Psalm 121 I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes by Walford Davies (sung unaccompanied and featuring a beautiful soprano solo) to the more stirring, majestic Psalm 147, Stanford's O Praise the Lord

The performances by the choir of Kings College, Cambridge, are outstanding with good clear enunciation, especially in the sopranos. The sleeve note does not indicate where this excellent recording was made but presumably it was in the Cambridge chapel. On a few occasions the higher register of the organ is lost but this is of little importance. A very good disc that warrants closer attention than it will receive from record buyers.

Don Hewitson